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Deputy Ambassador Deirdre Brown calls for Russia to end human rights violations and investigate the attack on Elena Milashina and Alexander Nemov on 4 July in Chechnya. 

Thank you, Madam Chair. I wish to add the UK’s voice to those who are again putting on record in this Council the litany of serious human rights violations in Russia. The issue of Russia’s repression of human rights is vitally important. It is important to the Russian people who face restrictions on their fundamental freedoms and it is important for peace and security in the OSCE region. Indeed this Organisation was founded on the recognition that the maintenance of comprehensive peace and security depends on respect for fundamental rights and freedoms.

In September 2022, this Council discussed the Moscow Mechanism report on “Russia’s Legal and Administrative Practice in Light of its OSCE Human Dimension Commitments”. The Moscow Mechanism report illustrated the horrifying scale of restrictive policies implemented by Russia over the last decade. These policies include repressive legislation which criminalises the dissemination of the truth, including the truth about Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. Thousands of people have been prosecuted because of these laws.

These policies also include direct attacks on media freedom. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, Russian and foreign journalists have faced further censorship and persecution by the Russian authorities. All independent media outlets have been muzzled. Anti-media laws have left journalists facing harsh prison sentences. And to bring matters right up to date, just this week on 4 July, we have seen the attack on renowned independent Russian journalist Elena Milashina and respected lawyer Alexander Nemov in Chechyna. The UK strongly condemns this attack and calls on the Russian authorities to carry out a thorough and transparent investigation.

President Putin pursues these policies because he fears that a free society would hold him accountable for the abuses his regime has committed at home, and restrain his ability to commit abuses abroad. The tragedy is that both Russian and Ukrainian people, particularly vulnerable groups including women and children, are enduring the worst effects of this repression.

I thank the OSCE’s autonomous institutions - particularly ODIHR and the Representative on the Freedom of the Media - for their vigilance in exposing the human rights violations being committed in Russia.

We stand united in condemnation of Russia’s brutal repression of human rights at home and abroad. We call on the Russian authorities to reverse this repression and to release all political prisoners including Vladimir Kara-Murza and Alexei Navalny.

I will end with a commitment to brave and tireless human rights defenders across Russia. Human dimension commitments are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all OSCE participating States– as reaffirmed by all participating States at the 2010 Astana Summit. In this Council and elsewhere, we will not stop raising the injustices you face.

Thank you Madam Chair.