Russian Federation’s Prosecutor General must cease legal harassment of International Memorial, OSCE PA human rights leaders say

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COPENHAGEN, 16 November 2021 – Alarmed by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office’s moves to shut down International Memorial, Russia’s oldest and most prominent human rights group, the leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee today called for Moscow to immediately cease its harassment of the organization, reiterating Memorial’s statement that it has no legal basis.

Sereine Mauborgne (France), Michael Georg Link (Germany) and Johan Buser (Sweden) – the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, respectively, of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions – today issued the following joint statement:

“Founded in 1989 during the glasnost and perestroika reforms, Memorial has long been one of the leading voices for human rights in the Soviet Union and its successor, the Russian Federation. Now, it joins a growing list of investigative news outlets and rights groups that have been targeted this year for liquidation. Given Memorial’s history, it would be tragically symbolic for this iconic institution to suffer this fate, as well as a huge step backwards for human rights in Russia.

“As leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee, we call in the strongest possible terms for the Russian authorities to drop their targeted harassment of this invaluable organization. The Russian Federation must allow civil society to flourish and refrain from suppressing its critical voices such as Memorial.”

Memorial was one of the first organizations named to Russia’s list of “foreign agents” in 2014 and October 2016. Since then, it has been fined at least 21 times for alleged violations of the foreign agents law. Prosecutors last week filed a lawsuit to liquidate the organization, claiming systematic violations of the foreign agents act.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, in its 2015 Annual Session Declaration, criticized Russian attempts to stigmatize and discredit civil society groups by labelling them “foreign agents,” and has previously expressed concerns about the application of the foreign agents law. (See, for example, here, here and here.)



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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