The Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation received the PACE delegation - News of the Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe
The Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation received the PACE delegation
On June 28, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation held a meeting with the co-rapporteurs of the Commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the fulfillment by the member states of the Council of Europe of the obligations assumed upon joining the organization.
The participants of the meeting discussed the compliance of the legislation of the Russian Federation and measures for the observance of human rights, as well as ensuring fundamental freedoms in Russia in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe. Members of the Commission are holding a series of meetings with representatives of legislative, executive, and judicial authorities to prepare a report on Russia, which will be published in 2022.
The President of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, Lydia Mikheeva, talked about the work of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and the main directions of its activities. In particular, she touched upon conducting public examinations of draft laws and organizing various types of public monitoring.
“Over the past few years, we have managed to create a strong practice of public oversight, and we are actively sharing this experience. In 2020, which was marked in Russia by the introduction of amendments to the country's Constitution, we launched an initiative for public monitoring of the said vote, and it seems to me that we achieved great success in organizing the monitoring process,” she said.
According to Lydia Mikheeva, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation does not have the right to initiate legislation. Nevertheless, the Chamber develops bills and asks representatives of the Federation Council or the State Duma to submit them for consideration.
“This was the case when we developed a project on the protection of bona fide purchasers of real estate. One particular case was the subject of consideration both in the Constitutional Court of Russia and in the ECHR,” she said.
PACE Vice-President Ria Oomen-Ruijten drew attention to the fact that the issue of human rights observance was important for everyone throughout the world.
“At the same time, we understand that the volume of work in the courts has increased, in particular, on the Russian side,” she said.
Further, she posed a question why, as per the Russian judicial system, decisions on cases of Russian citizens were initially made by the national legal system and not by the ECHR. The chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Security and Cooperation with Public Supervisory Commissions, Alexander Vorontsov, answered her question.
“In Russia, as in many other countries of the world, the legal system prescribes going through the national courts first; before one applies with his case to the ECHR, any citizen or organization goes through judicial institutions within the country. And this is right since this is how the justice system operates,” he said.
Alexander Vorontsov drew the delegation's attention to the fact that Russia had created a unique institution of public monitoring, namely, public supervisory commissions.
“This is an independent structure that monitors the places of detention of citizens. Today this institution has received the right of public monitoring in closed psychiatric institutions, i.e., it has the right to carry out supervision in these structures even before the judicial system,” he said.
When asked by the PACE co-rapporteur for Russia, Axel Schäfer, about the experience of the Civic Chamber in monitoring the observance of human rights in the penitentiary system, member of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Security and Cooperation with Public Supervisory Commissions (PSC) Maria Butina provided an answer.
“Citizens who are in prisons both abroad and in Russia often turn to me, and with the help of the PSC institution, we have managed to help them. This month, I have received more than 50 appeals, mostly from those who ended up in places of imprisonment abroad but also those in Russia.. Recently, my colleagues and I managed to help a man who was in a pre-trial detention center: he had very high blood pressure, and we were able to transfer him to a medical institution. We are actively pursuing such work, and it is certainly productive,” she said.
In turn, Maria Butina asked the members of the PACE delegation to pay attention to the fate of Russian citizens in places of detention in Greece and France, in particular, to the conditions of their detention and violations of the Convention of the Council of Europe. In this regard, the First Deputy Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Security and Cooperation with Public Supervisory Commissions, Mikhail Anichkin, reminded everyone about Russian citizen Yuri Mele, imprisoned in Lithuania.
Ria Oomen-Ruijten noted that all persons in prison should have the right to a dignified life with respect for their status and rights.
“Thank you very much for paying attention to these situations,” she said.
The Chairman of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Harmonization of Interethnic and Interreligious Relations, Vladimir Zorin, noted that one of the most progressive topics in terms of dialogue between the state and civil society in Russia was interethnic and interreligious politics, as well as migration issues.
“We work with 36,000 religious organizations, over 15,000 NGOs, 1,300 national cultural autonomies, and more than 3,000 migrant organizations across the country. The dialogue between the President of the Russian Federation and the heads of all our regions and republics is constantly and directly carried out. This is a unique phenomenon," he said.
The meeting was also attended by the member of the Commission of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on Security and Cooperation with Public Supervisory Commissions, Maxim Grigoriev, who presented the book "Ordinary Fascism: Ukrainian War Crimes and Human Rights Violations (2017-2020)" to Ria Oomen-Ruijten. . He wrote the book in collaboration with State Duma deputy Dmitry Sablin.