On 9 June, High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation Tatiana Moskalkova took part in a regular meeting of the Open Forum on the subject of the civil society of modern Russia, which took place in the State Duma.
The meeting, chaired by State Duma Chairman Sergey Naryshkin, gathered prominent politicians, academics, journalists and many others. The participants noted that the rating of the values associated by Russians with the notion of civil society has changed greatly: the significance of such values as patriotism and social justice has risen sharply. At the same time, citizens are more involved into various civil society activities: from volunteering to organized political movements. The value of human rights and the need to their strict observance and protection have also been realised.
That was the most important factor of the civil society formation in Russia that the High Commissioner mentioned in her speech. She gave the following statistics as an example: more than 50 per cent of court decisions violating human rights are revoked after interference of the human rights commissioners. It proves the high role of the human rights protection as one of the most important elements of civil society.
"At present, there are 320 thousand public organisations registered by the Ministry of Justice. It means that the State has taken a very high responsibility. Today the participants have repeatedly mentioned the ways the State should support public movements, including financial aid; and we can see how it goes halfway. This year almost half a billion rubles have been allocated to support public organisations. It is twice more than the previous year. Despite the fact that our nation has faced hardships, the State pays special attention to the public organisations," Ms Moskalkova said. Of course, there are still some problems. "The day before yesterday I had a serious meeting with representatives of 14 human rights organisations. They drew attention to the fact that the State is not always ready for a dialogue. This is not the way it should be. There is a need to speak and seek for points of contact," the High Commissioner underlined.
In her speech, the High Commissioner determined main directions of improvement of the human rights and freedoms protection in civil society. It is important to change and improve the grant policy. This policy is very important now to balance all those events which gave birth to the 'foreign agent' notion in relation to public organisations. And, finally, public diplomacy. We can see that international associations are very important. For instance: I have spoken with Ms Lutkovska, Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights. We have agreed to meet each other and solve a number of questions, including a transfer of Ukrainian convicts to their homeland. The issues that could not be solved by ministries of justice can be solved at the level of civil society institutions," Tatiana Moskalkova underscored in conclusion.