Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning today (31 October) issued the following statement on the adoption of the high treason law in Russia:
“I am very disappointed that the Russian Parliament has adopted the high treason law today. This will further weaken civil society and there is a danger that international cooperation may become a criminal offence.
The law steps up the pressure on the opposition and those Russian citizens who want to live and work in freedom and be engaged in civil society without having to fear repression. There is a risk that the authorities may act arbitrarily.
The pressure on the opposition, which has already been considerably increased in the last few months, has been stepped up even further. The deterioration of the human rights situation in Russia is evident.
I am deeply concerned that Russia is moving in a direction which we, as democrats, cannot tolerate.
I call upon President Putin not to sign the law. Moreover, I appeal to all those in positions of authority to put an end to the continuous erosion of the protection of human rights and finally launch a counter-movement. Russia has signed the European Convention on Human Rights and must now adhere to it.”