Posts Tagged ‘OSCE’

19
November 2014

Statement by OSCE PA human rights chair on the five-year anniversary of the death of Sergei Magnitsky

OSCE PA

On the eve of the 5th anniversary of the death of Sergei Magnistky, the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee, Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), has called for an end to impunity in Russia and greater attention to the persistent link between corruption and human rights transgressions across the OSCE area.

“The killing of whistleblowing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky on 16 November 2009 captured the attention of the world, but still, five years later, has not brought the change to his country that its citizens deserve. Let us mark this anniversary by remembering why Magnitsky’s life was taken – that is, for speaking truth to power. Let us renew our call for an end to impunity in Russia, not only for the people who killed this true patriot, but for the systemic corruption, human rights transgressions and lack of rule of law that have led to his and other unacceptable deaths there,” Santos said.

“We must also remember why Magnitsky’s case continues to have meaning far beyond Russia: On an almost weekly basis we hear of instances across the OSCE area and in the wider world in which state authorities abuse their power to silence those who expose lapses in the rule of law. Lawlessness and corruption continue to erode human rights. I applaud the numerous countries that have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials implicated in Magnitsky’s killing, but the OSCE and the international community must do more to demand adherence in Russia and beyond to the norms of a civilized and just world,” Santos added.

Read More →

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg
29
July 2013

WICKER: Russia’s adoption freeze: Is a humanitarian solution within reach?

Washington Times

When the Russian government decided late last year to forbid international adoptions with the United States, the heartbreak was swift and palpable. The Kremlin’s political opportunism had reared its ugly head — denying orphans the chance at a better future and leaving adoptive families incomplete.

Approximately 300 U.S. families, including several in my home state of Mississippi, were in the process of adopting children from Russia when the ban took effect in January. These families had traveled across the world to meet and bond with the children they hoped to welcome into their lives. As the extensive paperwork and formalities progressed, the emotional ties grew stronger.

Today, these “pipeline” families are working tirelessly to challenge Russia’s broken promises and bring attention to the hundreds of orphans still waiting for Mom and Dad. Their pleas have yet to stir a response from Russian officials, who refuse to allow the pending cases to move forward. But growing international support has inspired new hope that a humanitarian solution should prevail.

The resounding consensus by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is encouraging. Earlier this month, the parliamentary assembly of the 57-country organization overwhelmingly passed a measure I introduced to uphold the sanctity of the adoption process between nations.

Read More →

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg
26
July 2013

WICKER: Russia’s adoption freeze – Is a humanitarian solution within reach?

Washington Times

When the Russian government decided late last year to forbid international adoptions with the United States, the heartbreak was swift and palpable. The Kremlin’s political opportunism had reared its ugly head — denying orphans the chance at a better future and leaving adoptive families incomplete.

Approximately 300 U.S. families, including several in my home state of Mississippi, were in the process of adopting children from Russia when the ban took effect in January. These families had traveled across the world to meet and bond with the children they hoped to welcome into their lives. As the extensive paperwork and formalities progressed, the emotional ties grew stronger.

Today, these “pipeline” families are working tirelessly to challenge Russia’s broken promises and bring attention to the hundreds of orphans still waiting for Mom and Dad. Their pleas have yet to stir a response from Russian officials, who refuse to allow the pending cases to move forward. But growing international support has inspired new hope that a humanitarian solution should prevail.

The resounding consensus by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is encouraging. Earlier this month, the parliamentary assembly of the 57-country organization overwhelmingly passed a measure I introduced to uphold the sanctity of the adoption process between nations.

Specifically, the resolution — the first of its kind for the OSCE — urges countries to settle differences in a “positive and humanitarian spirit,” with the goal of avoiding the “disruption of intercountry adoptions already in progress that could jeopardize the best interests of the child.” Although the measure does not carry legal weight, it bears moral authority that I hope will advance negotiations between the State Department and Russian officials in the coming months. Above all, it affirms the positive influence of family on the life of a child.

Most would agree that intercountry adoption is a sensitive issue with unique considerations. Likewise, we recognize that countries have the right to control how they conduct their adoption processes. But Russia’s severing of established relationships between adoptive parent and child unfairly changes the rules in the middle of the game. In passing my resolution, the OSCE has sent a clear signal that the concerns of some 300 families in the final stages of the adoption process are legitimate, important and worthy of attention.

Read More →

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg
25
July 2013

Statement on the Rule of Law in the Russian Federation In Light of Magnitsky and Navalny Convictions

USA Mission to OSCE

As delivered by Charge d’Affaires Gary Robbins to the Permanent Council, Vienna

The United States is disappointed and saddened by the posthumous conviction of Sergey Magnitsky on July 11 and by the July 18 conviction and sentence of Alexei Navalny to five years in prison. In both cases we have deep concerns about the apparent political motivation behind these trials. We remain troubled by the failure to respect the rule of law or to ensure the fair trial guarantees required by international law and OSCE commitments.

Sergey Magnitsky’s conviction in a tax evasion case was an insult to the efforts of those who continue to seek justice with respect to the circumstances of his death. The Kremlin’s own human rights council has said there was evidence suggesting Magnitsky was beaten to death while in custody. We continue to call for full accountability for all those responsible for Magnitsky’s death, and will continue to support the efforts of those in Russia who seek to hold these individuals accountable.

The conviction of Alexei Navalny, who was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of embezzlement, is another troubling case. For the past several years Navalny has been a leading member of the political opposition, campaigning against corruption. The case had been dismissed twice for lack of evidence. We understand Mr. Navalny is appealing his case while continuing his bid to be the next mayor of Moscow.

Notwithstanding Navalny’s interim release on bail, both his and Magnitsky’s convictions raise serious questions about respect for the rule of law in the Russian Federation. We call on Russian authorities to cease any campaign of pressure against individuals seeking to expose corruption and to guarantee that individuals can freely exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression and assembly. We call on Russia to embrace serious efforts, like Mr. Navalny’s and Mr. Magnitsky’s before him, to improve government accountability and combat corruption in order to nurture a modern economy.

Read More →

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg
28
September 2012

US at OSCE statement by Ambassador Avis Bohlen

US OSCE

As prepared for delivery by Ambassador Avis Bohlen
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Warsaw, September 26, 2012

While I hesitate to rank the session topics in any order of importance, it’s hard to overstate how critical the rule of law is to ensuring the effective implementation of other OSCE commitments and to providing redress when necessary. Indeed, how we speak about and understand the state of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the world can never be far removed from the concept and — we hope — the reality of an independent and fair judiciary interpreting and enforcing the laws of a genuinely representative legislature. Sadly, such democratic essentials are still lacking in too many of the participating States, and frequently the courts become tools of government persecution. To be sure, there have been improvements over the past year in some OSCE states, and while we also understand that no state’s judicial system is perfect, in too many cases the chasm between the commitments on paper and the reality on the ground is troubling.

Moderator, in Russia, the posthumous prosecution of Sergei Magnitsky is one of the most visible examples of what former President Dmitry Medvedev decried as “legal nihilism.” We are also concerned by the problematic trials and disproportionate sentences against the female punk group Pussy Riot and the jailing of Taisiya Osipova on questionable drug charges, as well as the legal harassment visited on many of those who have sought to express publicly their disapproval of the government, including Garry Kasparov, Alexey Navalny, and Boris Nemtsov. We reiterate our concerns regarding the second trial, verdict, and sentence of former Yukos executives Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, as well as that of Alexey Kurtsyn.

In Kazakhstan, we are concerned about the fairness of the justice system, where arrests appear to have targeted opposition activists. For example, in the case against Vladimir Kozlov, the prosecution has relied on professed “expert witnesses” who attacked Mr. Kozlov’s character, but failed to produce concrete evidentiary links between Mr. Kozlov’s support for striking oil workers and the violence that occurred in Zhanaozen last December. In the aftermath of violence in Zhanaozen, trials have has been further marred by credible allegations of torture in detention and forced confessions resulting from beatings by prison officials and threats to defendants’ families. These allegations are consistent with and reports of widespread police abuse during the crackdown following the December 16 events.

Read More →

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg
27
July 2012

Convicted Criminal Klyuev IN OSCE ,MONACO


Russian Government Facilitates Lobbying by Convicted Criminal Klyuev against Magnitsky Sanctions at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Monaco

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg
20
July 2012

US Senator Wicker speaks on Senate Floor about Magnitsky Act

Senator Roger Wicker

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) spoke on the floor of the US Senate in support of the “Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act” whichy is making its way through both House of of Congress. Senator Wicker also requested that the speech made by Senator John McCain in Monaco at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembley Annual Conference in July, should be entered into the Congressional record, and fully supported the passage of a Magnitsky resolution at the OSCE PA.

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg
20
July 2012

Why Does the Kremlin Defend the Suspects in the Magnitsky Case?

Voice of America

Many countries have mafias. I’ve reported on gangsters in Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. I’ve spent time mulling the human landscapes in Sicily and in the United States.

In those countries, if credible, outside investigators produce an exhaustive report alleging the theft of nearly $1 billion in government money and the murders of five people, the governments would respond in two ways.

One: Say, “Thank you very much” and find an honest prosecutor and give the political and financial backing to take the cases to trial.

Two: Say, “Thank you very much” and then quietly do nothing.

Russia is taking a radically new strategy.

Here’s what’s going on:

Over the course of the last two years, investigators with Hermitage Capital have compiled highly detailed reports on the alleged theft of $800 million in Russian tax money and the cover-up murders of five people, including Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. The most recent report drills down to the detail of showing receipts for vacations that alleged gang leaders and Russian government accomplices took together in Cyprus and Dubai.

Hermitage recently released a powerful 17-minute video that is now moving minds across the world. Posted on YouTube, it’s called: “The Magnitsky Files: Organized Crime Inside the Russian Government.”

At last count, about 20 parliaments, starting with the United States Congress and the British Parliament, are drawing up legislation to ban visas and freeze assets of suspects in the Magnitsky case.

Facing this international PR disaster, what is Russia doing?

Read More →

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg
11
July 2012

Akaki Minashvili speaking about Sergei Magnitsky

OSCE Parliamentary Assembley

Akaki Minashvili, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Comittee in Georgia, was speaking to the OSCE PA about the rule of law in Russia and the Sergei Magnitsky case. He called on fellow delegates to support a resolution calling for visa bans and asset freezes in the government officals who played a role in the false arrest, torture and death of Magnitsky in 2009.

Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old Russian lawyer who was investigating the money laundering by the Klyuev Oorganised Crime Group, was falsely arrested, tortured and killed in police custody two and a half years ago. His killers have not been brought to justice in Russia.

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg