Friday

16th Nov 2018

Russia attacks EU on human rights record

Xenophobia, racism, and neo-Nazism are among a long list of human rights violations frequently committed in the EU, according to a report released by the Russian Federation on Thursday (6 December).

“All this is in an obvious contradiction with the EU claims of being the model and often the 'supreme arbiter' as far as human rights and democratic freedoms are concerned,” states the 66-page report, published in English on Russia’s ministry of foreign affairs website.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Moscow says the EU regularly violates and ignores human rights on its home turf (Photo: kremlin.ru)

The report says the European Commission and member states play lip service to human rights abroad but are reluctant to tackle problems closer to home.

“No progress in solving the EU internal issues and occasional lack of political will are in a stark contrast with the way the European Union lectures other countries,” says the report.

It notes that the commission’s investigation into “undemocratic reforms in Hungary has been virtually "soft-pedaled"”.

Lithuania, Poland and Romania, suspected of harbouring secret CIA prisons on their territories in the early 2000s, obstruct independent investigations into the allegations, it says.

Attacks and discrimination against minority groups like the Roma, large-scale human trafficking, drop in press freedoms, and growing anti-immigration sentiment are also cited.

The report also lists the member states that have not signed up to key human rights multilateral treaties. Ireland and the Czech Republic, it says, do not participate in a convention against child prostitution, child pornography and sale of children.

The report also analyses member states individually.

It claims there is unlawful detention of migrants in France, that Denmark breaches international legal norms by refusing to provide asylum to refugees from Afghanistan, and that Sweden disregards the rights of the child.

The Russian Federation, says the report, is willing to help the EU improve its human rights record through “a constructive dialogue of equals”.

Meanwhile, human rights organisations in Russia funded by foreign entities could risk administrative fines or imprisonment if they refuse to label themselves as “foreign agents”.

Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Centre, which won the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2009, said it refuses to comply with the law which came into force on 21 November.

Magnitsky Act passed

Meanwhile, Russia’s human rights violations have not escaped US congressional scrutiny.

The senate overwhelmingly passed a bill on Thursday that would ban Russian officials involved in corruption and human rights violations from travelling into their territory. It also freezes their assets.

The bill is named after the Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitksy who died in prison in 2009 after exposing a tax fraud scam involving high-ranking officials in Russia’s interior and tax ministries.

Russian authorities were quick to deride the legislative act, calling it “something out of the theatre of the absurd”.

Moscow is threatening to introduce its own version of the bill, banning American officials involved in human rights abuses.

The so-called Magnitsky Act is tied to a larger measure that aims to normalise trade relations with Russia following its August entry into the World Trade Organisation.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Opinion

Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?

Few people commented on one key point in Macron's statement: he did not justify the idea of a European army by the need to intervene in Africa, which would have been France's traditional approach. Instead, he invoked the Russian threat,

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us