ADC “Memorial” spoke on behalf of FIDH in Strasbourg

Representatives of ADC “Memorial” spoke at a conference for NGO’s organized by the Council of Europe, representing the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). The conference “Only a matter for politicians? Civil society, money and political activities” was held on June 6-7, 2016 in Strasbourg.

Discussions focused on the restrictions and in some cases repression faced by NGOs, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and civil society activists in the member states of the Council of Europe.

Conference participants welcomed the Azerbaijani lawyer and human rights defender Intigam Aliyev, who had recently been released from prison. In his opening speech Intigam Aliyev thanked all representatives of international organizations and human rights defenders, who had struggled for his release.

Olga Abramenko, expert of ADC “Memorial”, stressed that the repression of NGOs in Russia had recently entered a new phase: in addition to fines for alleged violations committed by NGOs, which became routine and are being appealed by NGOs in courts, there is a growing risk that the heads of non-governmental organizations face personal charges for criminal offences. Moreover, repressive legislation and practices had spread to a vast territory: in Crimea, annexed by Russia, the representing body of the Crimean Tatar people had been banned. In Kyrgyzstan, where attempts are being made to adopt a law similar to the one existing in Russia, human rights defenders are subjected to harassment initiated by the head of state. In unrecognized territories controlled by Russia the possibilities for operations of independent human rights activists are virtually non-existent. In Transnistria a criminal case was recently opened against activists of NGO PromoLex, and in so-called Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics public sphere was completely “cleansed” of civil activists. New and new groups, including civil society activists, journalists and lawyers are becoming targets of repression each day.