The rapid deterioration of human rights in the Russian Federation is of extreme concern to us all. This intensifying crackdown on fundamental rights and freedoms contradicts the numerous international human rights commitments that Russia has freely signed up to. OSCE participating States – and indeed the Russian people – have a right to demand that the Russian authorities take urgent steps to bring Russia back into compliance with these commitments as quickly as possible.
Like many other participating States, we remain deeply concerned by reports of Alexey Navalny’s poor health – the Russian authorities are responsible for ensuring Mr Navalny’s wellbeing. As we have done on previous occasions, we reiterate our call for his immediate and unconditional release from his politically motivated detention.
We are alarmed that Russia’s state financial watchdog “Rosfinmonitoring” has listed the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and Mr Navalny’s network of campaign offices as “terrorist” linked organisations, and continue to monitor the outcome of the Moscow court hearing this month which will determine whether FBK and Mr Navalny’s political network are designated as “extremist organisations”.
Designating these organisations would be another repressive step, and would further reduce transparency, political plurality and freedom of expression.
We note with concern the detention of Mr Ivan Pavlov on 30 April. Mr Pavlov is a lawyer, campaigner, and Head of Team 29, an association of lawyers and journalists working on rights of Russian citizens to information access and distribution. He is currently defending the journalist Ivan Safronov and the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by Alexey Navalny. We urge Russia to release Mr Pavlov as a matter of urgency, to drop charges against him, and to stop the harassment of Mr Pavlov and his colleagues at Team 29.
Russian authorities continue to restrict independent media outlets, independent journalists and other media actors. We previously raised our concerns about investigative journalist Roman Anin after Russian police detained and interrogated him, and raided his apartment, we believe in retaliation for his investigations into the Kremlin elite. Now the Russian authorities have turned their attention to a student magazine, by targeting the journalists of Doxa.
We condemn the decision of 23 April to add the media outlet Meduza to the list of “foreign agent” media outlets. Our Russian colleague stated earlier that this designation will have no impact on Meduza’s ability to operate. However, the labelling requirements and the onerous financial declarations Meduza is now required to make will have a serious and detrimental impact on its ability to function. Individual employees of Meduza are now also at risk of being designated Foreign Agents.
This continued suppression of independent media is unacceptable and confirms a continuous negative pattern of shrinking space for independent voices in Russia.
Russia must respect its citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and fulfil its international obligations, including ensuring the right to fair trial; the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention; the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as upholding the rule of law.
The United Kingdom calls upon the Russian authorities to take all measures necessary to fulfil its obligations under the OSCE’s human dimension and other international human rights commitments, and to release Mr Navalny and Mr Pavlov from politically motivated detention as a matter of urgency.