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Urgent Statement by Russian Human Rights Commissioner

27 April 2018
Urgent Statement by Russian Human Rights Commissioner

On 21 April, the Latvian court arrested Mr. Alexander Gaponenko — co-chairman of the Joint Congress of Russian Communities and the chief executive officer of the Non-Citizens’ Congress, who had been apprehended on suspicion of exercising «activities, directed against national independence» after his publication on Facebook.

The activities of the human rights defender were aimed at preserving Russian-speaking schools and at protecting the rights of Russian children, including their right to receive education in the mother tongue.

Such actions contradict fundamental principles of democracy; violate the rights of national minorities, particularly the right to freedom of expression, thought and the right to impart information.

Moreover, while being interviewed Alexander Gaponenko declared, that he had been subjected to ill-treatment, for which he went on a hunger strike and is now under the supervision of doctors.

I call on the international community to take measures to ensure the rights of Mr. Gaponenko in full conformity with international law, as well as my colleagues Ombudsmen to stand up for the well-known human rights activist and to encourage the Latvian authorities to stop persecution against him.

Tatiana Moskalkova
High Commissioner for Human Rights
in the Russian Federation

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