The EPP Group has strongly condemned Russia's Justice Ministry's appeal to the country's Supreme Court to close the independent rights organisation Memorial. In a Resolution adopted today by the European Parliament, EPP Group MEPs urge the Russian authorities to recall the lawsuit before the hearing scheduled for 13 November stressing that Memorial plays a crucial role in the development of democratic values and the promotion of human rights in Russia.
"Memorial - the 2009 Sakharov Prize laureate - has been at the forefront of human rights work. It has significantly contributed to the preservation of history and memory of Stalinist repressions with a view to not allowing history to repeat itself. Its role can never be underestimated and the attempts of Russian authorities to silence the truth are just another clear demonstration of the utter disregard for any international norms and modern standards, and are thus unacceptable”, said Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP, EPP Group Vice-Chairman responsible for Foreign Affairs.
The Resolution calls on the Russian authorities to put an end to any act of harassment, including at judicial level, against the Memorial Society, the human rights centre Memorial, their members, as well as all human rights defenders in the Russian Federation, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any interference.
"We strongly condemn the intimidation campaign run by the Russian authorities against the only few remaining independent voices of the country’s civic society. We call on Russia to end the circle of fear and violence surrounding human rights defenders. Civil society activists everywhere must be free to exercise their most basic rights of freedom of thought and expression. The witch hunt against ‘foreign agents’ is actually another pretext to silence those looking for the truth", said the EPP Group Coordinator in European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Cristian Preda MEP.
The European Parliament urges the European Commission and the EEAS to increase its financial assistance to Russian civil society and to include the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in the Partnership Instrument in order to ensure sustainable and credible long-term support.