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Statement by Iceland on the decisions by Russian courts to close Memorial organizations

Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers, 1421st meeting of the Ministers' Deputies. Statement delivered by Ragnhildur Arnljótsdóttir.

Mr. Chair,

We are deeply concerned over the decisions by Russian courts to close Memorial organizations, including Memorial International which is one of the most prominent civil society organizations active in the field of human rights protection in the Russian Federation. The closures represent a worrying setback for the advancement of human rights in the country.

We call on the Russian authorities to ensure a safe and enabling space for civil society in the country and to, as indicated by the Court to the Government of Russia under rule 39, suspend the enforcement of the decisions to dissolve the organizations for a period that would be necessary for the Court to consider the application in the case of Ecodefence and others v. Russia.

We also call on the Russian authorities to urgently follow up on the recommendations formulated by the Venice Commission with a view to aligning the legislation on “foreign agents” to the applicable international standards.

I thank you.

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