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European Parliament adopted a resolution on Russia, notably the situation of environmental activists and Ukrainian political prisoners

EU Parliament: The European Parliament calls on the Russian authorities to release without further delay and unconditionally all illegally and arbitrarily detained Ukrainian citizens, both in Russia and in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, and to provide for their safe return, including Crimean Tatars, the recently detained Red Square peaceful demonstrators of 10 July 2019, Ukrainian citizens detained on politically motivated charges and the 24 crew members of the Ukrainian naval vessels.

Calls on the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally end any act of harassment, including at judicial level, against Alexandra Koroleva and Ekozaschita!, and against all human rights defenders and environmental activists in the country, and allow them to carry out their legitimate work without any interference;

3.   Urges the Russian authorities to withdraw the so called ‘foreign agents’ law and to seek support and fully implement all recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, in compliance with its international obligations in this respect;

4.   Calls on Russia to publish a full list of prisoners held in occupied Ukrainian territories in Donbas and Luhansk and to facilitate their contact with families and lawyers;

5.   Strongly condemns Russia’s continued violations of fundamental principles and norms of international law, particularly its refusal to comply with the decisions of international tribunals and courts; urges the Russian Federation to implement the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the violation of the human rights of persons detained in the Crimean peninsula and in the Russian Federation;

6.   Emphasises that Russian courts, whether military or civilian, are not entitled to rule on acts committed outside the internationally recognised territory of Russia, and points out that judicial proceedings in such cases cannot be regarded as legitimate;

7.   Calls on the Russian Federation to guarantee unhindered access to the occupied Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas for international intergovernmental organisations, in particular, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other conventions and institutional mechanisms of the Council of Europe, and international humanitarian organisations, in particular the International Committee of the Red Cross;

8.   Calls on the Russian authorities to ensure full cooperation with UN Special Procedures, including by extending invitations to visit the country to the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and the Special Representative on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, so that they may report on the situation of environmental and human rights defenders;

9.   Points out that human rights defenders in the Russian Federation, including environmental activists, are often subject to acts of harassment, surveillance, physical attacks, threats, raids and searches of their offices and homes, slander and smear campaigns, judicial harassment, arbitrary detention, and ill-treatment, as well as violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly;

10. Proposes that the European Union consider introducing permanent monitoring of the trials of victims of political persecution in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and calls for the EU delegation to Russia and the embassies of the Member States to continue monitoring and attending the trials of human rights activists and Ukrainian political prisoners, and to organise missions involving independent physicians for Ukrainian citizens detained for political reasons in the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea in order to monitor their detention conditions and state of health;

11. Urges the Russian authorities at all levels to recognise the crucial role of environmental defenders in protecting the environment and in ensuring respect for environmental rights and to publicly condemn all attacks, intimidation, harassment and criminalisation of environmental defenders;

12. Urges the Russian authorities to stop curtailing the peaceful and legitimate activities of environmental organisations by fabricating criminal cases against local environmental activists, arresting participants in peaceful local protests and imposing disproportionately heavy fines on them;

13. Calls on the Russian authorities to take the appropriate legal steps and use all available legal tools to prevent and put a stop to the attacks against environmental activists; urges the Russian authorities to ensure effective investigation and accountability in the case of Andrey Rudomakha and other cases of attacks against environmental defenders;

14. Calls for the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights, the EU delegation to Russia and the embassies of EU Member States to pay continuous attention to the situation of the environmental defenders; calls for the EU and its Member States to take extra steps to support the Russian environmental and human rights defenders;

15. Expresses its concern about reports of the conditions of detention, including allegations of torture and ill-treatment and denial of access to essential health care, and therefore reiterates its call on the Russian authorities to ensure full respect for the rights of all detained persons, to ensure that all prisoners receive proper medical attention and treatment, and to respect medical ethics, including no imposition of unwanted treatment or force-feeding in the case of hunger strikes that may amount to torture and other ill-treatment;

16. Welcomes the Council decision to prolong the restrictive measures; reiterates its strong belief that the EU sanctions must not be lifted until Russia complies with its international obligations, including respecting the Minsk agreements; calls for Member States to remain firm and united in their commitment to the agreed sanctions against Russia and to consider targeted measures against the individuals responsible for the detention and trial of the political prisoners; calls on the international community to intensify pressure to secure the release of all political prisoners detained in Russian-occupied territory;

17. Calls on the next Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to elaborate a new comprehensive EU-Russia strategy aimed at strengthening peace and stability; underlines that the necessary dialogue should be based on firm principles, including respect for international law and the territorial integrity of Russia’s neighbours, while at the same time strengthening people-to-people contacts with the citizens of Russia; underlines that the sanctions against Russia can only be lifted when the country fully respects its obligations; stresses, however, that the EU should also stand ready if necessary to adopt further sanctions, including targeted personal sanctions, and to limit access to finances and technology if Russia’s violation of international law continues;

18. Reiterates its support for a European human rights violations sanctions regime, the so-called Magnitsky Act, which should sanction perpetrators of serious human rights violations, and calls on the Council to pursue its work on this matter without delay; stresses that perpetrators of human rights abuses should not be granted EU visas nor be allowed to keep assets in Member States;

19. Reiterates its strong condemnation of the act of aggression committed by the Russian Federation against Ukraine on 25 November 2018 near the Kerch Strait off the coast of illegally occupied Crimea; underlines that ITLOS ordered Russia to release the vessels and the servicemen immediately and unconditionally; underscores that failure to implement the ITLOS order constitutes another gross violation of international obligations; considers Russia’s ‘conditions’ for releasing the vessels and the servicemen outlined in its note to Ukraine of 25 June 2019 to be in clear contravention of the order and possibly violate it even further by aggravating or extending the dispute;

20. Calls on the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights to pay continuous attention to the human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula and in the non-government controlled areas of Eastern Ukraine;

21. Calls on the Russian Federation to fully implement the resolutions of the UN General Assembly of 27 March 2014 entitled ‘Territorial integrity of Ukraine’, of 19 December 2016 entitled ‘Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)’, of 19 December 2017 and of 22 December 2018, and the order of the International Court of Justice regarding provisional measures in the case Ukraine v. Russia regarding the application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;

22. Recalls with concern that many of the Russian court judgements against Ukrainian political prisoners are related to espionage (including in the cases of Pavlo Hryb, Oleksiy Stogniy, Gleb Shabliy, Volodymyr Prysych, Volodymyr Dudka, Dmitry Shtyblikov, Yevlen Panov, Andriy Zakhtey, Valentyn Vygovskyi, Viktor Shur and Dmytro Dolgopolov), which recalls the repressive period of the 1930s to the mid-1950s of the last century, when many citizens of the then Soviet Union were detained and convicted on these grounds;

23. Protests against the decision issued by Russia’s Prosecutor General, declaring the Ukrainian World Congress a threat to Russia’s national security;

24. Expects that the PACE decision of 25 June 2019 will lead to an immediate improvements with regards to respect for human rights and Council of Europe standards in Russia, and in particular as regards the implementation of rulings by the European Court of Human Rights;

25. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, and the President, Government and Parliament of Ukraine.