Leonid Nikitinsky: “Basic rights should not be subject to additional restrictions”

6 March 2022

by Leonid Nikitinsky, Novaya gazeta correspondent

On the statement by members of the Human Rights Council

Source: Novaya gazeta

On 6 March 2022, the Commission on Political Rights of the Presidential Council on Human Rights and Civil Society [‘Human Rights Council’], by a majority of votes, as well as several Council members from other commissions, signed a statement about the “grave consequences for the exercise of human rights” that have arisen in the country since the decision taken by the president on 24 February. 

The text of the statement was published with a few deletions on the website of the Human Rights Council and on the blog of the chair of the Commission on Political Rights, Nikolai Svanidze, without signatures. The text is available on the Council’s website and is fairly restrained, but even its publication might fall under the law on administrative and criminal responsibility passed and signed by the president on 4 March. In particular, the text points to the necessity of observing the provisions of humanitarian law, to the fact that “free speech and other basic freedoms should not be subject to additional restrictions, especially since neither martial law nor an emergency situation has been introduced in Russia, and the additional restrictive measures already passed, including the amendments to the Criminal Code and Code on Administrative Violations should be reconsidered.”

The long delay with the collective statement is explained by the fact that the chair of the Human Rights Council’s Commission on Political Rights, Nikolai Svanidze, and others had tried to act within the framework of the Council’s regulations, but the Council’s leadership, others of its members, and the office of presidential advisor Valery Fadeev did not always assist them in doing so.

I announced my departure from the Human Rights Council at a meeting of its presidium back on 24 February.

The Council members who have affixed their signatures to the statement as of today are prepared for the fact that the president may order them expelled from the Council. Otherwise, they will continue to try to fight within the Council’s framework, above all, for the observance of the constitutional rights and freedoms of their fellow citizens.

As of the present moment, the following have signed the statement: Aleksandr Asmolov, Aleksandr Verkhovsky, Natalia Evdokimova, Igor Kalyapin, Svetlana Makovetskaya, Tatyana Margolina, Leonid Nikitinsky, Mara Polyakova, Nikolai Svanidze, Aleksandr Sokurov, Vladimir Ryakhovsky, Sergei Tsyplenkov, Igor Yurgens.

Translated by Marian Schwartz

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