OSCE PA human rights leaders deeply concerned about faltering respect for fundamental freedoms

COPENHAGEN, 13 June 2019 – Following mass arrests of peaceful demonstrators in recent days in Moscow, Russia, and several cities in Kazakhstan, the leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee call for full respect of fundamental freedoms of assembly and expression.

According to media reports, more than 500 protesters were detained in Russia’s capital on Wednesday during a demonstration calling for accountability of officials who had wrongfully arrested investigative reporter Ivan Golunov.

Some 500 protesters, as well as journalists, in Nur-Sultan and Almaty, Kazakhstan, were also reportedly taken to police stations following participation in protests of Sunday’s presidential election.

With the violation of the rights of over a thousand people in just a few days, the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur of the OSCE PA’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions call on authorities of all OSCE participating States to fully respect the fundamental freedoms to which they have committed themselves.

“I was disappointed at the mass arrests in Kazakhstan of peaceful demonstrators who were exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of assembly and expression,” said Margareta Kiener Nellen (MP, Switzerland), Chair of the committee. Kiener Nellen served as Head of the OSCE PA’s observer delegation to the election held on Sunday [LINK].

Vice-Chair Michael Georg Link (MP, Germany) said “The disruption of a peaceful protest and arrest of hundreds of citizens for calling for good governance by Russian authorities is simply unacceptable. I deeply regret that fundamental freedoms agreed by all OSCE countries decades ago continue to be violated in this way on a regular basis.”

In the OSCE’s 1990 Copenhagen Document, all OSCE participating States agreed that “everyone will have the right of peaceful assembly and demonstration.” They further reaffirmed that the right to freedom of expression includes the freedom to impart information and ideas without interference by public authority.

On 12 June the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, called on the Russian authorities to respect the rights of journalists to cover public events and release all detained media workers, following the peaceful demonstration in Moscow.

“These recent events remind us of the importance of renewing our commitments to the principles we have all agreed to. I call on my fellow parliamentarians in Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation and across the OSCE region to strengthen oversight of government responses to protests and ensure they are in keeping with agreed principles,” said Committee Rapporteur Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (MP, Cyprus).

Kiener Nellen, Link and Hadjiyianni call on parliamentarians in the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and all OSCE participating States to ensure that their domestic legislation is fully in line with international principles, including the fundamental freedoms of assembly and expression.

A draft resolution proposed by Hadjiyianni for the OSCE PA’s upcoming Annual Session in Luxembourg, 4-8 July, particularly calls for attention to fundamental principles during times of emergency.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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