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Kremlin comeback is a threat to Council of Europe and European security


International Partnership for Human Rights in cooperation with partner organisations has organized a side-event "Kremlin comeback is a threat to Council of Europe and European security: widespread, systematic and ongoing violations of the rights protected by the European Convention, resulting from Russia's aggression in Georgia and Ukraine". 

The side event took place on 24 June at The Palace of Europe, Strasbourg during the summer session of the PACE

--The event is hosted by: 
- Egidijus Vareikis, Deputy head of Lithuanian delegation, and 
- Boriana Åberg, Chairperson of the Sweden Delegation 

- Mumine Salieva, Activist of Crimean Solidarity civic initiative, was subjected to arrest by occupying power in May 2019
- Oleksandr Pavlichenko, Executive Director, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union(UHHRU)
- Tamila Tasheva, Founder and Coordinator, Crimea SOS
- Ucha Nanuashvili, Project Director, Human Rights Center, former Ombudsman of Georgia
- Nikolai Polozov, Russian lawyer, coordinator of the group of attorneys representing Ukrainian sailors - prisoners of war

- Maria Tomak, Advocacy manager, UHHRU, coordinator of Media Initiative for Human Rights

In the light of the forthcoming voting in PACE for lifting the sanctions against Russian Federation, human rights organizations and initiatives of PACE region has reminded the delegates about grave human rights violations, related to Russian aggressive actions, which seem to be approved and encouraged by one of the key human rights institutions worldwide. 

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has decided to vote on lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia after the illegal annexation of Crimea. The fact that the vote is taking place at all represents a significant and worrying change of Council of Europe policy towards Russia.
After the 2014 annexation of Crimea, PACE ruled to apply sanctions against Russia and suspended the voting rights of the Russia delegation to PACE. PACE considered that Russia’s actions on the territory of Ukraine constituted “beyond any doubt, a grave violation of international law” and that they were in clear contradiction to the commitments Russia had undertaken upon accession to the CoE as “by violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Russia has created a threat to stability and peace in Europe.”
In subsequent resolutions PACE called on Russia to reverse the illegal annexation of Crimea; investigate deaths, disappearances and human rights violations committed by police and (para) military forces in the region; disband paramilitary forces; cease harassing Crimean Tatar institutions and organizations; and cease pressure on independent media.  The European Union and the United States also imposed sanctions/restrictive measures against Russia/Russian citizens. In an act of retaliation, Russia suspended its annual 33 million Euro contributions to the CoE in 2017.
NGOs believed that sanctions constitute an essential tool for de-legitimising Russia’s illegal actions against Ukraine and for preventing the further spread of the conflict. 
Furthermore, normalising the forceful annexation of a territory of a sovereign state, accompanied by flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and human rights will create a serious security threat not only for Ukraine but for the entire region.
For the above reasons participants called on PACE and the Committee of Ministers to demonstrate unity in upholding the values and principles on which the Council of Europe is based and fully keep sanctions in place until Russia meets the conditions for which these sanctions were imposed.
HRIDC Project Director Ucha Nanuashvili spoke about the situation of 2008 victims, consequences of the war and current situation in the conflict affected regions.

Up to 40 organisations have signed the special statement on this issue:

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