To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the actions being taken at EU level regarding anti government protests in Russia; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 20th June, 2017.
Ref No: 28699/17
A series of anti-corruption protests were held in several cities across Russia on 12 June. Hundreds of peaceful protestors were detained by the authorities and subjected to violence in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other cities. The opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, who had called for the protests was arrested and detained before he could make his way to the Moscow rally.
The response of the police to the peaceful protests was heavy handed and disproportionate. The EU has expressed its deep concern at last week’s events, which threaten the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly enshrined in the Russian constitution. It has called on the authorities to fully respect Russia’s international commitments to uphold these rights, and to release without delay peaceful demonstrators.
This and other recent developments, including disturbing reports of the persecution of gay men in Chechnya, as well as the banning of Jehovah’s Witnesses on grounds of extremism, underline the vulnerable position of civil society activists, human rights defenders and minority groups in Russia.