OSCE PA human rights leaders issue statement on court decision to shutter Moscow Helsinki Group

COPENHAGEN, 26 January 2023 – Deploring yesterday’s decision by the Moscow City Court to shut down the Russian Federation’s oldest human rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee urged steps be taken to reverse the decision. In a joint statement, Nikoloz Samkharadze (Georgia), Farah Karimi (Netherlands), and Johan Büser (Sweden) – the Chair, Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, respectively, of the OSCE PA’s Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions – said the following:

“As an organization founded by Soviet dissidents in 1976 to help ensure compliance with the human dimension commitments laid out in the OSCE’s founding document, the Helsinki Final Act, the Moscow Helsinki Group has for nearly five decades been an essential component of Russian civil society. Its dissolution would be not only a symbolic blow to the comprehensive security model of the OSCE, but would significantly set back the protection of human rights in Russia. Furthermore, shutting down the organization could contravene Russia’s OSCE commitments to freedom of association. We therefore urge a reversal of this decision and an end to the crackdown on voices critical of the Kremlin.”

Samkharadze, Karimi and Büser also endorsed the statement issued yesterday by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights on the court’s decision on the Moscow Helsinki Group and said that the PA stands ready to support independent civil society organizations working on human rights in Russia.

OSCE PA Special Representative on Civil Society Engagement Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus) also commented on the development, tweeting today that Helsinki committees and civil society overall are at heart of the OSCE process and must be preserved. Appearing before the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna today, OSCE PA President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden) deplored the general crackdown on Russian civil society. 



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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