Week-ending 24 July 2020
Dunja Mijatović: “The existing legal framework unduly restricts the work of civil society organisations in the country and interferes with the rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression of many non-commercial organisations and human rights defenders.”
On Tuesday, 21 July, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, issued a statement describing the indictment of Semyen Simonov, a Russian human rights defender in Sochi, ‘for not complying with the legislation on non-commercial organisations’ as ‘alarming’ and said it would have ‘a massive chilling effect on the entire human rights community in Russia.’
“Mr Simonov’s NGO has been sanctioned for carrying out human rights activities and, as a result, it has been compelled to cease its activities. The same thing has happened to several dozen other NGOs across the Russian Federation in the last seven years.
The existing legal framework unduly restricts the work of civil society organisations in the country and interferes with the rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression of many non-commercial organisations and human rights defenders.
I urge the authorities of the Russian Federation to drop the charges against Mr Simonov and to urgently review the current legal framework in order to bring it in line with the Council of Europe human rights standards which require states to establish an enabling environment for human rights defenders to carry out their work.”
Dunja Mijatović was elected Commissioner for Human Rights in January 2018 by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and took up her position on 1 April 2018. She is the fourth Commissioner, succeeding Nils Muižnieks (2012-2018), Thomas Hammarberg (2006-2012) and Alvaro Gil-Robles (1999-2006).
For more information about the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, see: Commissioner for Human Rights