First meeting of Expert Council under High Commissioner

18 April 2017

On April 18, the first meeting of the Expert Council under the chairmanship of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation Tatiana Moskalkova was held.

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Federal Constitutional Law "On the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation" — Russia’s first ever legal act, which has become the legislative basis for a new unique institution of the state protection of human rights and liberties," Tatiana Moskalkova mentioned in her opening statement.

"Its adoption has initiated a new period in the interaction of the state and civil society, the attitude towards the human rights community has changed, and a fundamentally different dialogue between the citizen and the government has arisen," the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation emphasized.

Today, the High Commissioner has not only the opportunity to request all the necessary documents and conduct inspections independently or with the assistance of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee, but also the right to file administrative suits, to appeal to the Constitutional and Supreme Courts.

Of course, one of the focus areas of the High Commissioner Office activity is the work with citizens' appeals. According to Tatiana Moskalkova, in 2016, the Ombudsman’s Office received 1.5 times more appeals than in 2015.

"More than three thousand people faced with troubles, were received by our staff and me personally," the High Commissioner said.

Tatiana Moskalkova also stated that out of more than 40,000 appeals received in 2016, most are acute social issues, followed by the violation of human rights in the criminal process. The High Commissioner stressed that appropriate measures have already been taken responding to over 38 thousand appeals and more than 700 people have received assistance.

Introducing the members of the Expert Council, Tatiana Moskalkova noted that the interaction with the human rights and scientific community is extremely important. "Our Council consists of 50 people. Among them there are 30 doctors of science, 26 professors, 12 candidates of science, representatives of the human rights community, leading scientists and lawyers."

The main tasks of the Expert Council are to develop recommendations on the implementation of the High Commissioner’s main activities, advise and inform the High Commissioner Office on the state of affairs in the field of observance and protection of human rights and freedoms, assist the High Commissioner in organizing and engaging with state bodies and civil society institutions.

"Today we are working upon a new federal law on the generally accepted organization of the regional ombudsmen activities," added the Federal Ombudsman, noting the particular importance of interaction with human rights commissioners in regions.

In conclusion, Tatiana Moskalkova expressed her hope that the Expert Council, with its enormous potential, will render significant assistance in resolving the difficult current and long-term tasks facing the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation.

The meeting participants discussed the organizational issues of the Expert Council functioning, and also presented the vision of the main tasks and activities for the period of 2017–2018.

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