Statement by Ambassador Ivan Soltanovsky, Permanent Representative of Russia to the Council of Europe

On December 3, the Latvian security service detained for interrogation some local Russian-speaking journalists who cooperate or cooperated in the past with on-line media and Sputnik Latvia. Their homes were searched and their electronic devices were confiscated. Latvian authorities filed criminal charges against some of them for their cooperation with International News Agency “Rossiya Segodnya”.

We see these actions by Latvian authorities as blatant repressions against Russian-speaking journalists on the grounds of their professional activities. This case clearly demonstrates that the respect of human rights in Latvia is preconditioned with ethnicity and political views. We consider these actions by Latvian officials as violations of articles 10 (freedom of expression) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

We have drawn the attention of the leadership of the Council of Europe to systemic violations of human rights in Latvia on numerous occasions but in vain. There is still time for the Council of Europe to understand that the human rights are heritage of the whole humankind. They belong to all regardless of nationality and political views. If the Council of Europe ignores violations in some member States on a systemic basis, it compromises its ability to uphold its fundamental values and standards and to ensure the protection of human rights for all the inhabitants of its member States.