Tatiana Moskalkova: it is important for a human rights defender to rely on civil society

26 July 2017

On 26 July, on site of the Russian Educational Youth Forum "Terra Scientia on Klyazma River" a thorough conversation took place between High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation Tatiana Moskalkova and young human rights activists.

Within an hour and a half, it was possible to discuss the most pressing issues of human rights violations in the subjects of Russia, as well as to talk about the challenges facing our society today.

Opening the event, Tatiana Moskalkova outlined the priorities in the work of a human rights activist.

"It is important for a human rights defender to believe in himself, to be guided by the feelings of justice and empathy in his daily work and to rely on civil society. We have nowhere to retreat," said Tatiana Moskalkova at the meeting with the «Terra Scientia» participants.

Together with the High Commissioner, the lawyer Henry Reznik visited the forum. He shared with the forum participants his understanding of the profession specifics.

"Where previously our society was tested by compulsion, now we are facing a test of freedom. And freedom is, first and foremost, fair competition. It is impossible without respect for rights, this is the foundation by which a high standard of living must be achieved. The activities of a human rights defender should first of all ensure fairness in a society that guarantees fair competition," Henry Reznik said.

Answering questions of youth, Tatiana Moskalkova presented statistics of appeals to the High Commissioner for the last year.

"In 2016 alone, the High Commissioner’s Office received 42,000 complaints. And my colleagues in the constituent entities of Russia — another 170,000. The majority of complaints concern the social sphere — medicine, education, and housing. They are followed by the appeals related to the criminal procedure sphere," the federal ombudsman said.

In addition, Tatiana Moskalkova supported the idea of adopting a federal law on Commissioners for Human Rights in the subjects of the country.

"We need the state to consolidate this institute at the legislative level and legislatively determine the status, rights and powers of such Commissioners," Tatiana Moskalkova stressed.

Answering the question about the protection of the rights of students detained at unauthorized rallies, Tatiana Moskalkova drew the attention of those gathered to the responsibility of persons attending such events.

"You should understand perfectly well that to participate in an unsanctioned rally means to be prepared for the fact that all the measures provided for by law can be applied to you. I have repeatedly called for and will urge all to study their rights, to take responsibility for the decisions made and to continue the struggle for freedom of speech within the framework of the law," the federal ombudsman stated.

During the discussion, the High Commissioner proposed to prohibit the dismissal of university graduates. "We do not have a young specialist’s institute, there is no quota for young people, and they leave. This is a pain for Russia. A young man must be guaranteed that after the graduation he/she can not be fired for three years," Tatiana Moskalkova said.

The High Commissioner also spoke out against increasing the retirement age. "I am against increasing the retirement age because it is an obstacle to the promotion of young people. There are no vacant jobs, the youth has nowhere to move — this is the reason why young people leave the country today," the federal ombudsman stressed.

"Let’s create an organization based on the results of the forum for legal or social assistance to people. The forum brought together enlightened young guys who not only can, but also want to help others. Perhaps we can do this within the framework of the institution of Commissioners in the subjects of the country," said the federal ombudsman finishing the discussion.

Let us recall that the Russian Educational Youth Forum "Terra Scientia on Klyazma River" is held in the Vladimir Region from June 27 to August 20, 2017. Participants of the IV session are the young leaders of NGOs, human rights and volunteer projects.

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