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Jagland worried over possible liquidation of Russia’s oldest human rights organization

October 15, 2014, 22:02 UTC+3 STRASBOURG
Secretary General of the Council of Europe and Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjorn Jagland is worried over possible liquidation of Russia's Memorial human rights organization
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©  EPA/Vegard Wivestad Grott

STRASBOURG, October 15. /TASS/. Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjorn Jagland said on Wednesday he is worried over possible winding up of Russian human rights organization Memorial.

A suit claiming Memorial liquidation was lodged with Russia’s Supreme Court by the Ministry of Justice over violations exposed in the society’s activity in late 2012. Thus, according to the claim, the organization “lacks a nationwide status and it has no documented proof of statutory activity.” Moreover, it allegedly does not observe its own charter. The Ministry of Justice twice demanded the organization should remedy breaches but it has failed to do that.

The Supreme Court will consider the claim on November 13. The ministry says however that Memorial still has time to correct deficiencies.

Jagland’s press service said he had telephoned to Russian Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov to call on him to use every possibility in order to find a legal solution to that problem to let this organization continue its work. Memorial’s liquidation will be a shock to many Russians and will pose a threat of undermining Russia’s reputation on the global arena, he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russia’s chief human rights champion Mikhail Fedotov said he hoped the Memorial human rights society would not be wound up. “We must not allow Memorial to be closed due to formal reasons. We must help the organization,” he said.

Fedotov, who chairs Russian president’s council on the development of civil society and human rights, said he was “taking effort to settle the situation.” In his words, Memorial’s charter has certain contradictions to federal laws.

According to Fedotov, Memorial will have a conference on November 19 to address the issue of changes in its charter. A corresponding document, in his words, had been referred to the Ministry of Justice. He also said he planned to take part in the November 19 conference and expressed the hope the Ministry of Justice would also commission a representatives for consultations.

Memorial is Russia’s oldest human rights organization that was founded in the late 1980s. Its initial task was to study the history of political repression in the former Soviet Union. Now it collects and publishes information about violations of human rights in the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

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