EU Statement on recent widespread protests in the Russian Federation
Brussels, 03/02/2021 - 10:49, UNIQUE ID: 210203_8
Statements on behalf of the EU
1394th meeting of the Committee of Ministers on 3 February 2021
The European Union is deeply concerned by the violent suppression of peaceful protests in cities all over the Russian Federation on 23 and 31 January. As reported by independent observers, in a number of instances, police forces used a disproportionate level of force, and detained thousands of peaceful protesters and journalists. The Union of Journalists and Media Workers recorded over 150 cases of obstruction of journalists’ professional activities, including violence, arbitrary detentions and intimidation.
We urge the Russian authorities to ensure full respect for the right to freedom of assembly and the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights, and to refrain from taking any disproportionate measures, including the excessive use of force, against peaceful protesters, as well as journalists and other media workers. We reiterate our call on the Russian Federation to take measures, in line with the recommendations of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, to ensure that human rights are respected in the context of policing assemblies. We urge the Russian authorities to immediately release those who have been detained arbitrarily for exercising their right of peaceful assembly.
We note that the massive protests of 23 and 31 January were yet another manifestation of support for Alexei Navalny, following his recent arrest. It is deplorable that Mr Navalny’s arrest as well as the subsequent ruling to convert his suspended sentence into a prison term are based on court decisions which the European Court of Human Rights determined to be arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable. We reiterate our call upon the Russian authorities for Mr Navalny’s immediate and unconditional release.
The following countries align with this statement: Albania, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Norway and Ukraine