Resolution as adopted, Athens Council, November 2012
We, European Greens, are deeply concerned about the threats to democracy and civil liberties committed by governments in different countries of Europe. Different events happening in Russia and in Greece demand from the European Union and its Member States clear condemnations and call for political sanctions.
Firstly, there are increasing concerns with regards to Russia’s compliance with international and national obligations regarding basic freedom and respect for fundamental rights.
The case of the death in custody of Sergei Magnitsky is dealt with in a separate EGP Council Resolution but is relevant also to the analysis here. It is not an isolated case; a multitude of other juridical cases exist documenting abuse of powers by the Russian law enforcement authorities, heavily violating the rule of law, and using systematically the pretext of economic crimes and alleged corruption for eliminating business competitors or political rivals.
On 7th of November police entered the house of famous Russian political scientist Dr. Kagarlitskiy taking personal belongings and documents. The Bolotnaya case attests to the repressive policies: the 6th of May demonstrations in Moscow were dispersed with a lot of police brutality. 360 people were arrested and 18 are under criminal investigation.
On 19th of October Leonid Razvozzhaev (Left Front) was kidnapped on the streets of Kiev and illegally transported to Russia.
Three members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in a penal colony for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" is part of a clampdown on political dissent and opposition forces that further shrinks Russian democratic space and deeply undermines the credibility of Russia's judicial system.
This repressive attitude of the government is followed by new laws adopted by the Parliament in Summer 2012 which are clearly contradictory to the notion of human rights promoted by the Council of Europe, of which Russia is a member. The new law on assemblies effectively stops organizations from openly appealing for participation in demonstrations. And the new laws on NGOs threaten the freedom of association. Moreover, this new legislation is not only a danger for all activists and defenders of civil rights, but clearly seek to break any international cooperation between Russian organizations and other countries, threatening a new political isolation of the Russian people.
Meanwhile, in the birthplace of democracy, recent incidents attest to the authoritarian behaviour of the Greek government. The immediate arrest of the journalist who publicised the "Lagarde list" (which contains the names of Greek bank depositors abroad) and also the decision of the public TV channel administration to temporarily "freeze" the broadcast of the TV show "Morning Briefing", after a report citing the Forensic service evidence that Police officers tortured protestors at an anti-fascist motorcycle demonstration are evidence of this political drift. This repressive attitude is compounded by the tolerance exhibited towards the fascist behaviour and torture concealed or denied by the Minister of Public Protection and the Police spokesman. The financial decline in Greece has revealed that not only the economy, but also its democratic functions have fallen into disrepair. The country incrementally and with increasing speed diverges from what used to be considered as "European Acquis" and more and more incidents invoke a return to the previous dark periods of Greek life.
Therefore, we as Greens:
- Consider that the recently awarded Nobel Peace prize to the EU should be an opportunity for the Union to revive its promise of peace, democracy and defence of human rights and so to show no tolerance to these shifts towards authoritarianism.
- Strongly condemns in any country the political repressions against journalists or opponents through policial or juridical means.
- Demands the abrogation of any law or amendments to the legislation harming the fundamental rights and contradictory to the basic principles of democracy, such as the Russian legislation on the right of assembly and on NGOs.
- Supports the call for sanctions on Russian authorities for disregard of human rights and basic freedoms, and reminds the Russian authorities that a modern and prosperous society needs to recognise and protect the individual and collective rights of all its citizens.
- Calls on the Greek government to abandon the authoritarian politics which threaten democracy and the basic values of the European Union such as freedom of the press.
- Demands that the EU reminds all of its member states, and specifically Greece, of the common obligation for their governments to respect of fundamental rights and the principles of democracy.
- Reminds that the commitment to basic values such as the rule of law, and respect for human rights and basic freedoms, remains the main prerequisite for EU external diplomatic relations and for the development of stable and reliable partnerships. Therefore, demands of the EU and its Member States to systematically raise, in the course of bilateral meetings with Russian authorities, the issue of the rampant neglect of human rights, as well as the issue of intimidation and impunity in cases involving human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers, in a more determined, resolute and result-oriented manner.
- Urges the Council of Europe to make Russia, one of its full members and therefore committed to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, accountable for its behaviour; to make clear to the Russian authorities that the recent worrying developments taking place in Russia are incompatible with the fundamental values upon which this organisation is based and to take due account, therefore, of the possibility to suspend the participation of the Russian Federation in the activities of this body until these questions are fully addressed in a satisfactory manner.