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Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North-Caucasus Region

Committee Opinion | Doc. 12301 | 21 June 2010

Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy
Rapporteur :
Ms Anne BRASSEUR, Luxembourg, ALDE
Reference to committee: Doc. 11090, Reference 3633 of 25 January 2010. Reporting committee: Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. See Doc. 12276. Opinion approved by the committee on 21 June 2010. 2010 - Third part-session

A Conclusions of the committee

1. The Political Affairs Committee welcomes Mr Dick Marty's report on “Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North-Caucasus Region” and agrees with the main conclusions and suggestions set out in the draft resolution and recommendation submitted by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.
2. The report rightly points out that the North-Caucasus Region in general, and Dagestan in particular, is a remarkable and rather exceptional example of multiculturalism, where a great many ethnic groups, different languages and religions have long cohabited. The challenge now facing not only local authorities but also the Russian Federation and the Council of Europe is to re-establish confidence and dialogue, based on respect for national identities and the promotion of cultures and languages. That is the only way to ensure respect for democracy, human rights and lasting peace.
3. The situation in the three republics concerned is far from reassuring. The report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights describes the specific situation in Chechnya, the “climate of impunity” for human rights abuses, the intimidation of civil society, the President of Chechnya's unacceptable attitude to women and the extreme personalisation of power. These are situations which the Assembly firmly condemns.
4. The report points out that in Ingushetia, despite the fact that constructive dialogue has been forged between the authorities and civil society since the new president came to power, there has been a worrying resurgence of violence since 2009, resulting in some cases in assassinations and disappearances of opponents to the government and journalists, without any prosecutions to date.
5. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights points out that Dagestan has also recently experienced a resurgence of acts of terrorism, prompting responses from the security forces that, unfortunately, are not always lawful and productive. As the report underlines, the admirable tradition of peaceful secular cohabitation between Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities could be jeopardised by the rise of extremism and inappropriate responses from the authorities.
6. The Political Affairs Committee endorses the firm condemnation of acts of terrorism, wherever and by whomever they are committed, and the Assembly's solidarity with the friends and families of the victims of all types of violence: terrorist attacks, attacks against the population of the Caucasian republics and kidnappings.
7. Accordingly, the committee wishes to suggest several amendments aimed at supporting and strengthening the general thrust of the draft resolution presented by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

B Proposed amendments to the draft resolution

Amendment A (to the draft resolution)

In paragraph 3, replace the words “with families of the victims” with the words “friends and families of victims of all types of violence, including those …”.

Amendment B (to the draft resolution)

Add the following sentence to the end of paragraph 5:

“A high-level state committee on disappeared persons needs to be set up”

Amendment C (to the draft resolution)

In paragraph 9, replace the words “its aversion to” with the words “its unequivocal condemnation of”.

Amendment D (to the draft resolution)

In paragraph 11, after the words “is imposed”, add the words:

“, sometimes in a humiliating manner,”