Bärbel Kofler, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (30 June 2016) on the action being taken by the Russian authorities against Valentina Cherevatenko, human rights activist and head of the NGO Union of Women of the Don:
“The prosecution of Ms Cherevatenko is cause for serious concern. Prosecuting individual representatives of civil society is a further step by the Russian authorities to curtail the activities of civil‑society organisations.
As a member of the Council of Europe, Russia must fully guarantee human rights standards. These standards are enshrined in the Russian constitution. I therefore call on the Russian Government to support rather than punish people’s active involvement in civil society and international cooperation. Restrictive laws coupled with selective enforcement create uncertainty and erode trust.”