Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, today (6 December) congratulated the winners of the Moscow Helsinki Group human rights award:
“I offer my warmest congratulations to the award winners. I was especially pleased that Yevgenia Chirikova and Yuri Shmidt were honoured with awards. They represent the struggle for civil rights in two very different areas of Russian society. Civil society in Russia is sending an important message with this Russian human rights award: Calls to strengthen the rule of law and the protection of human rights come from many different quarters of Russian society itself and are not – as is often claimed – a form of Western imperialism. This also shows clearly that the Russian state must not avoid its own responsibilities. It is high time President Medvedev backed up his words with deeds by asserting the rule of law in practice in Russia.”
Yesterday (5 December) the Moscow Helsinki Group presented a total of ten awards in various categories for extraordinary commitment by representatives of civil society. The awards have been presented once previously, in 2009. This year’s award winners include civil rights activist Yevgenia Chirikova, who is campaigning to preserve the Khimki Forest north of Moscow, and Russian human rights lawyer Yuri Shmidt.