On 17 December, the Federal Government’s Human Rights Commissioner, Christoph Strässer, discussed the situation of civil society in Russia with Tanya Lokshina (Human Rights Watch Moscow) and Oleg Orlov (Member of the Board of Memorial human rights organisation) in Berlin.
After the meeting, Strässer issued the following statement:
I am deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia, where dedicated people are increasingly being intimidated and excluded because they fight for the protection of human rights. Action must be taken to reverse the growing tendency to block out critical voices from public life.
I am convinced that a vibrant civil society is an essential prerequisite for a functioning democracy.
I therefore call on the Russian government to create a climate of freedom of opinion and tolerance and to ensure that laws are applied within the framework of Russia’s international human rights obligations.