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Statement on the freedom of assembly in Russia

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 25 March 2021.

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Madame Chair,

Norway is deeply concerned by the arrests of local politicians and members of the opposition attending a political forum in Moscow on the 13th of March. All people must be able to peacefully enjoy their human rights, including the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly, without discrimination. It is of utmost importance that necessary, pandemic related restrictions are not misused to prevent a country’s opposition from access to platforms of dialogue or their freedom of expression. These rights are an absolute necessity for a functioning democracy.

The Russian Federation has, just has all of the 57 participating states, voluntarily entered into a range of OSCE commitments, including commitments related to freedom of association and peaceful assembly. We urge the Russian Federation to live up to its international human rights obligations and commitments and to release all those unlawfully or arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

Thank you