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Procedure : 2013/2667(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0286/2013

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 13/06/2013 - 12.1
CRE 13/06/2013 - 12.1

Votes :

PV 13/06/2013 - 13.1
CRE 13/06/2013 - 13.1

Texts adopted :


PDF 139kWORD 74k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0269/2013

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

on the Rule of Law in Russia (2013/2667(RSP))

Werner Schulz, Barbara Lochbihler, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Raül Romeva i Rueda on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on the Rule of Law in Russia (2013/2667(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia, in particular its resolutions of 13 December 2012 on the negotiations of the new EU-Russia agreement, of 13 September 2012 on the political use of justice in Russia and its recommendation of 23 October 2012 to the Council on establishing common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case,


- having regard to recent statements by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton including those on 28 April 2013 on the administrative fines against GOLOS, on 26 March 2013 on the situation of NGOs in the Russian Federation, on 30 January 2013 on LGBTI rights in Russia and on 25 October 2012 on the new law on treason in Russia,


- having regard to the conclusions of the 31st EU-Russia summit held in Yekaterinburg on 3-4 June 2013,


- having regard to the EU statement on EU-Russia human rights consultations of 19 May 2013,

– having regard to the ongoing negotiations for a new agreement providing a new comprehensive framework for EU-Russia relations, as well as to the ‘Partnership for Modernisation’ initiated in 2010 on the basis of a commitment made by Russia to the rule of law as a fundamental basis for the modernisation of Russia,

– having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law,

- having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which states that everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law,


- having regard to the opinion of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe from March 2013 on the law on demonstration of the Russian Federation,

– having regard to the EU-Russia human rights consultations,

- having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas the Russian Federation as a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has committed itself to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights; whereas due to several serious violations of the rule of law and the adoption of restrictive laws during the past months there are increasing concerns with regards to Russia's compliance with international and national obligations,


B. whereas the strategic partnership with Russia should based on a mutual commitment to shared universal values including pluralist democracy, the rule of law, human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, respect for human dignity and equality,

C. whereas a vibrant, diverse and free civil society is essential to the development of pluralist democracy and the strengthening of civil and political rights;


D. whereas, since the return to the presidency of Vladimir Putin in May 2012 Russian authorities have launched an unprecedented crackdown on non-governmental organisations; whereas the organisations targeted include Amnesty International, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch Transparency International, the Levada polling centre and GOLOS, an independent election monitoring organisation; whereas some of the NGOs targeted by these repressive actions have previously been the beneficiaries of European Union funding for the promotion of human rights and civil society, in Russia and elsewhere,


E. whereas this crackdown has included actions such as police raids, confiscation of property, administrative fines and other measures aimed at preventing and dissuading civil society organisations from carrying out their work; whereas recent laws against treason, participation in demonstrations, on extremism and registration of foreign NGOs have been used as a pretext for the Russian state's actions,


F whereas at the core of the crackdown is the “foreign agents” law which requires, among other things, organizations that receive foreign funding and supposedly engage in “political activities” to register as “foreign agents.” and label all their activities and publications with this reference/term ; whereas this law expanded already extensive and intrusive state control over organizations that receive foreign funding by setting out additional reporting requirements and providing for additional inspections by government bodies,


G. whereas a prominent lawyer, anti-corruption campaigner and social activist Alexei Navalny is currently on trial in Russia on charges that he claims represent a politically motivated attempt to punish him as one of the most prominent opponents of the government; whereas Navalny has consistently exposed massive corruption within the highest levels of the Russian state apparatus,


H. whereas prosecutors continue to pursue opposition activists who participated in the 'March of Millions' on 6 May 2012, the day before the inauguration of President Putin; whereas, according to reliable independent reports, the demonstration was forcibly disrupted at Bolotnaya Square by riot police who subjected participants to disproportionate force and arbitrary violence; whereas reports by the Presidential Human Rights Council, the Human Rights Ombudsman and an independent investigative commission comprising senior public figures both blamed the Russian authorities and police for the violence,


I. whereas police arrested many demonstrators and prosecutors have subsequently charged around 20 people with taking part in a mass riot; whereas the case against these individuals has been widely denounced as politically motivated; whereas at least one of those charged was subsequently convicted and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison, and many others who have been charged face even longer prison sentences if convicted; whereas seven of those charged have launched proceedings against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights; whereas Alexander Dolmatov, who fled Russia after being accused of orchestrating violence at the protest, committed suicide in Rotterdam in January 2013 after his application for political asylum was rejected by the Dutch authorities,


J. whereas members of the Presidential Human Rights Council have complained of harassment, intimidation, interrogations, searches of their offices and property and other measures carried out by Russian law enforcement agents,


K. whereas in April 2013 President Putin publicly stated that there were no political prisoners in Russia; whereas he made a similar assertion when prime minister in February 2012,


L. whereas Russia continues to detain, prosecute and imprison its own citizens on account of their political beliefs and civic engagement, in defiance of the country's constitution and international legal commitments; whereas the political manipulation of justice in Russia is apparent, notably in the prosecutions of Navalny, the members of the feminist collective Pussy Riot, Khodorkovsky and others; in the absence of progress towards bringing to justice the perpetrators of human rights abuses, including those responsible for the deaths of Sergei Magnitsky, Anna Politkovskaya, Stanislaw Markelow, Natalia Estimirova, Vasily Alexanian and others; and in the posthumous prosecution of Magnitsky, in contravention of all legal norms and precedent,


M. whereas Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have been declared prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International,


N. whereas laws on “propaganda of homosexuality” were adopted in many regions in 2012; whereas in January 2013 the State Duma voted in the first parliamentary reading of a bill prohibiting the “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” which broad and imprecise definition leaves an open space for the large misuse of this discriminatory legislation if it is adopted; whereas Duma is expected to give final approval in the end of the current Duma session,


O. whereas any member of the Council of Europe which has seriously violated the principles of the rule of law and of the enjoyment of human rights may be suspended from its rights of representation, and ultimately may be suspended from this organization; whereas the Russian Federation was,



1. Takes the view that the situation in Russia is symptomatic of a systemic problem with regard to the rule of law and human rights, characterised, inter alia, by a repressive political climate, curtailment of fundamental liberties and the gradual erosion of independent civil society;


2. Calls on the Russian government to take concrete steps to address this deterioration, in particular by ceasing the campaign of harassment against civil society organisations and activists; calls on the Russian executive and legislature to reconsider and eventually repeal recently adopted legislative acts and measures that conflict with the country's stated commitments on human rights and fundamental freedoms as a member of the Council of Europe;


3. Emphasizes that Russia would benefit from a strong and active civil society, which would help to reinforce Russia's stated commitments to freedom of expression, freedom of association, pluralist democracy and the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms; calls on Russia to take all possible steps to develop a social and political environment in which civil society organisations can flourish;


4. Urges Russia to strengthen the rule of law by ensuring fair and impartial trials, the inviolability and independence of the judiciary, independent oversight of public prosecutors' activities and a commitment to due process including meaningful appellate rights;


5. Expresses its deepest concern at the case of Alexei Navalny, his tenacious efforts to expose corruption in Russia and regrets the allegedly politically motivated nature of his prosecution; urges the Russian authorities to ensure that he is accorded his full rights and that his trial meets internationally accepted standards of due process; calls, in this respect, on the EU Delegation and Member States’ Missions in Russia to step up to monitor the trials of all human rights defenders, including that of Navalny and others, notably in the regions;


6. Urges Russia, with regard to the ‘March of Millions’, to commission an independent inquiry into the Bolotnaya Square violence and in particular to investigate allegations of police brutality and excessive use of force against demonstrators; expresses concern at the allegedly politically motivated nature of the prosecutions linked to the violence at Bolotnaya Square; reminds Russia of its obligations under domestic constitutional and international law to ensure that all defendants are afforded their full rights and are tried in accordance with internationally accepted standards of due process;


7. Urges Russia to take all possible measures to ensure that all members of the Presidential Human Rights Council, and more generally all those working in defence of human rights in Russia, are afforded protection from harassment and intimidation;


8. Calls on Russia to release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally, and to take prompt steps to rehabilitate those released, vacate their convictions and allow them to resume a full and unfettered role in public life; considers that the existence of political prisoners in Russia is incompatible with the ideals and spirit of the Olympic movement; calls on President Putin, in the absence of any immediate action to release political prisoners, to pardon political prisoners as a gesture of goodwill prior to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014;


9. Urges Russia to cooperate fully with the special procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council, including by issuing a standing invitation for country visits and responding positively to pending requests for access by the UN Special Rapporteurs on the protection of human rights defenders, on freedom of association and assembly, and on freedom of expression to Russia and to accept recommendations, made in the context of the Universal Periodic Review of Russia at the Human Rights Council, to repeal or revise legislation affecting the work of NGOs and to stop obstructing human rights work;


10. Urges the Duma to cease consideration of any laws banning “propaganda for homosexuality”;


11. Calls on EU Member States, as parties to the European Convention on Human Rights, to refer to the European Court of Human Rights the above-mentioned breaches by the Russian Federation of the related provisions of the Convention and its protocols, as allowed for under Article 33 of the Convention. 


12. Calls on the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers to take into account, in accordance with Article 8 of the Statute of this organisation, the procedure for suspension of the Russian Federation from its rights of representation in the Strasbourg-based organisation;


13. Urges the High Representative/Vice President to raise personally with her Russian interlocutors at every opportunity the systemic problem in Russia with regard to the rule of law and human rights; urges the High Representative to ensure that during the next EU-Russia summit, part of the agenda is dedicated to a discussion of the deterioration in the rule of law and human rights; requests that the High Representative reports back in person to the Parliament on this dialogue,

14. Calls on the High Representative and the European External Action Service to ensure that the cases of all political prisoners and human rights defenders under threat are raised in EU-Russia human rights consultations, and that Russia's representatives in these consultations are formally requested to respond in each case;

15. Calls on the High Representative and the European External Action Service to insist that future EU-Russia human rights consultations should incorporate officials from various Russian ministries concerned with human rights and not only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and take place also within the Russian Federation;

16. Urges the High Representative and the European External Action Service to ensure that the Union seeks every opportunity, within the boundaries of Russian domestic law, to step up the engagement with and support Russian civil society organisations including those working to promote the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; urges the High Representative to raise with her Russian counterparts the increasingly restrictive laws and actions targeting Russian civil society organisations, and set out reasons why these laws should be revoked or substantially amended; urges the HR/VP, the EAS and the European Commission to take into account during the current negotiations on the next multi annual financial framework and during the programming phase the deteriorating situation for civil society, the forced withdrawal of other international donors and increasing demand towards EU and to increase the Unions financial support to NGOs and civil society accordingly and significantly;


17. Calls on the HR/VP to articulate a unified policy towards Russia that commits the 27 EU Member States and EU institutions to a strong and principled common message on the role of human rights in the EU-Russia relationship and the need to end the crackdown on freedom of expression, assembly, and association in Russia; calls for this common message to be clearly stated in EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions;


18. Urges the EU member states to facilitate and positively assess the request of political persecuted activists from Russia for a fast and unburocratic Visa in order to avoid a repeat of the mentioned Dolmatov case;


19. Is of the view that those perpetrators that are involved in the crackdown of civil society, the abuse of human rights and rule of law should not benefit from Visa free travel to the EU;

20. Insists, in line with its previous resolutions on Russia, that further progress in the Union's relations with Russia, and in particular the Visa facilitation negotiations, is linked to tangible and sustained progress on the rule of law and human rights and is accompanied by accompanying and equivalent action in accordance with Parliament's recommendation to the Council on the Magnitsky case, adopted on 23 October 2012;

21. Calls for an ad hoc visit of the EP in order to assess the human rights situation in Russia; urges the Parliament's subcommittee on human rights to commission an expert report on the situation in Russia; calls for the human rights subcommittee, when drafting this report, to liaise jointly with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, considering the close relations, mutual interests and established cooperation mechanisms that exist between the two institutions;


22. Calls on the EU to sponsor a country resolution on the human rights situation in Russia in the UN Huuman Rights Council;


23. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the EEAS, the Council and the Commission and to the Government of the Russian Federation and the Russian State Duma and to the Council of Europe.


Last updated: 25 June 2013Legal notice