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Russia: International Organisations

Volume 697: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether Russia is fulfilling its international obligations as a member of the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. [HL634]

We have been clear in our private discussions with the Russian Government, and in our public statements, that we have concerns about the situation of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Russia.

The Council of Europe's monitoring mechanisms have regularly reported on the level of Russia's compliance with Council of Europe commitments. We continue to urge Russia to make progress in implementing the recommendations of these bodies, including through our bilateral human rights consultations and the EU-Russia human rights dialogue. Russia is also subject to the scrutiny of the Committee of Ministers in which the UK plays an active role. Furthermore, judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in certain cases brought by Russian citizens against the Russian Federation, have highlighted areas where the level of protection of human rights in Russia is inconsistent with Russia's Council of Europe obligations. The Committee of Ministers supervises the execution of these judgments.

In the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU and UK have repeatedly called on Russia to adhere to its OSCE commitments, and expressed concern in areas such as media freedom, freedom of association and electoral conduct, where failings have been apparent. Most recently, my honourable friend the Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy, attending the OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid on 29 and 30 November, said, “We regret that the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has recently faced a number of unprecedented restrictions and bureaucratic obstacles to observing the Russian Duma elections”.

Russia is a regular attendee of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meetings and has a member on the IPU's executive committee. The Russian group of the IPU visited the UK in 2002 and hosted a return visit by the British group of the IPU in 2004.