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Widespread fear and impunity characterise the ‘dismal human rights situation’ in the North Caucasus

The Legal Affairs Committee yesterday deplored the "dismal human rights situation” in the North Caucasus, where widespread fear and impunity of agents of the regional and federal authorities for serious human rights violations continue to prevail. None of the recommendations contained in the Assembly's latest resolutions have been properly addressed by the Russian authorities.

According to the committee, journalists, human rights defenders, LGBTI persons, women refusing to submit to the demands of “traditional values”, and anyone who opposes authoritarian rule risk persecution, torture, and even “losing their lives for expressing their opinions or just living their lives as they wish”. Neither they nor their relatives are safe in the North Caucasus and anywhere in Russia, or even abroad.

Adopting a draft resolution based on a report by Frank Schwabe (Germany, SOC), the committee reminded the Russian federal and local authorities of "their continuing international obligations to respect the fundamental rights of all persons under their rule", even after the country's exclusion from the Council of Europe.

The Russian Federation should give effect to all Assembly resolutions relating to the human rights situation in the North Caucasus, implement all judgments and decisions of the Court and co-operate with the CPT "as long as Russia remains a party to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture", the committee said.

It called on Council of Europe member and observer states to carefully consider asylum applications from residents of the North Caucasus region, "in particular members of particularly vulnerable groups such as human rights activists, journalists, LGBTI persons and women fleeing domestic violence”.