The liquidation of Memorial NGOs is a harsh blow to human rights protection in Russia

"The Russian courts decisions yesterday and today to shut down two prominent human rights groups - International Memorial and Human Rights Centre Memorial – on the grounds of the so-called “foreign agents” law is a deplorable move that will have significant negative consequences for human rights protection in Russia", said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović.

"Already in November, I called on the General Prosecutor to stop the liquidation proceedings against these NGOs and I have reiterated on this and many other occasions that the so-called ‘foreign agents’ law has a repressive character. Applying it as a tool to liquidate human rights NGOs – which have been long-standing partners of my Office – flies in the face of Russia’s human rights obligations. On this day, I stand in solidarity with the courageous human rights defenders working tirelessly to defend human rights of all people in Russia.

The Russian authorities should immediately repeal the decisions to liquidate Memorial NGOs and change their hostile attitude towards independent civil society, media and human rights defenders. They should also review the repressive law and practice and bring them in line with international and European human rights standards, in order to ensure a safe and genuinely enabling environment for the legitimate activities of human rights defenders.”