Joint Statement on recent widespread protests in the Russian Federation

Delivered by the Ambassador of Portugal at the OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna, 28 January 2021.

Madam Chair,

I am speaking on behalf of Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia,

Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany,

Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,

Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway,

Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and my

own country Portugal.

We condemn the violent suppression of peaceful protests in cities all over

the Russian Federation on Saturday, 23 January.

In the Paris Charter, as well as in the International Covenant on Civil and

Political Rights, we have reaffirmed that everyone has the right to

peaceful assembly. Russian law enforcement authorities, however, have

cracked down upon protests that were predominantly peaceful. In a

number of instances, police applied disproportionate use of force and

detained more than 3.800 individuals, including journalists and other

media actors, as reported by independent observers.

We support the call of the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human

Rights on the Russian Federation to guarantee the right to freedom of

peaceful assembly and uphold the respect for human rights.

Journalists and media actors should be able to do their job of reporting.

The Union of Journalists and Media Workers has recorded over 50 cases

of obstruction of journalists’ professional activities, including violence,

arbitrary detentions and intimidation. We support the call of the OSCE

Representative of Freedom of the Media on the Russian Federation to

investigate these incidents promptly. We urge the Russian Federation to

respect the commitments we as OSCE Participating States have agreed

on regarding the safety of journalists, including the OSCE Ministerial

Council decision 3/18 on the Safety of Journalists.

We urge the Russian authorities to immediately release those who have

been arbitrarily detained and reiterate our call to set Mr Navalny free.

Thank you.