Open statement of the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation with regard to the anti-Georgian campaign unfolding within Russia, November 2006

At a recent sitting, The Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation discussed the issue of the anti-Georgian campaign that has unfolded in many regions of Russia.

From the information and documents provided to the Council by individual citizens, public organisations and state agencies, it is clear that this campaign arose as a consequence of a skewed understanding of general political statements made by the countries’ leaders with regard to issues of relations between Russia and Georgia, which were taken in certain quarters as an instruction for action with regard to organisation of persecution against persons of Georgian ethnicity. This campaign is continuing in spite of the statements once again made by the Russian President in answer to questions raised by Russian citizens, in which he affirmed that discriminatory actions on ethnic grounds, including by the legal and administrative bodies, are unacceptable.

The large-scale checks being made in relation to observance of the rules of immigration into the Russian Federation, the legality of labour activities, and the correctness of formation of small and medium-sized businesses, are taking place on a selective basis with regard to Georgian citizens and persons of Georgian ethnicity, and therefore constitute persecution on ethnic grounds, which is unacceptable. In many cases these checks are taking place in gross violation of the law. Administrative and legal persecutory measures are being taken without foundation: the operations of enterprises at which ethnic Georgians work are being suspended, visas legally issued to Georgian citizens are being cancelled, as are their immigration and residential registrations, and people are being illegally detained and deported from the Russian Federation. The courts are frequently passing judgement on these cases in absentia, without hearing the representations of the detained and without taking into consideration such circumstances as family and children with Russian citizenship, and absence of any infringements by those subject to deportation.

The Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation believes that such selective persecution is incompatible with the constitutional principles of a state of law, represents unacceptable discrimination, and cannot be seen as lawful method of combating illegal migration.

The Council calls attention to the fact that the anti-Georgian campaign and its methods are having a negative influence on the relations between our peoples, are damaging the authority of Russia and its legal system, and, above all, are creating conditions of arbitrary rule.

We call on the Russian authorities to immediately take the necessary measures to restore legality, humanitarian principles and respect for rights and liberties with regard to all residents of our country.

Эта запись так же доступна на: Russian