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Code of conduct for human rights activists is senseless idea - HRC

January 16, 2014, 16:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Codes of conduct cannot be binding - head of the Agora human rights association Pavel Chikov
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Head of the Agora human rights association Pavel Chikov

Head of the Agora human rights association Pavel Chikov

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Karpov

MOSCOW, January 16.  /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's Presidential Human Rights Council (HRC) members believe that the idea to work out a code of conduct for human rights activists is senseless. According to media reports, the idea to develop the code of conduct was put forward by Vladimir Osechkin, head of the working group on the development of public control and protection of rights of citizens in detention facilities in the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament.

“I don’t need the human rights defender’s code,” HRC member, head of the Agora human rights association Pavel Chikov told Itar-Tass. He said that codes of conduct cannot be binding. “Codes of conduct are in the moral, not legal sphere,” he added.

Another HRC member Ilya Shablinsky drew attention to the fact that such a code, even if it is worked out, would not be adopted, “Journalists, for example, have their professional organisations. For example, the Union of Journalists has adopted such a code. Human rights defenders cannot have such a structure, so who will adopt and approve it?” He is certain that “it is impossible to work out a certain single norm, the criteria of who can be a human rights defender.” “Say, Sergei Adamovich Kovalyov was called a criminal by many, some human rights defenders were called traitors, I mention only the most authoritative human rights activists. I don’t understand this idea to work out the code and see no sense in it,” Shablinsky concluded.

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