UNITED NATIONS, August 31. /TASS/. US sanctions against Russian senators and deputies of parliament are illegitimate and stand in crude violation of international law, the principles of democracy and freedom of speech, the speaker of the upper house of Russian parliament, Valentina Matviyenko said on Monday in a video address to the 4th World Conference of Parliament Speakers held in New York under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
The US sanctions "[…] put up obstacles for a full-scale inter-parliamentary collaboration," she said. "They are illegal; they violate crudely the norms of international law, as well as the principles of democracy and freedom of speech."
"Sanctions against members of parliament elected by voters in their country that are introduced in connection with their political views, all the more in the 21st century, are little more than a type of political persecution and distortion of the essence of parliamentarianism as a genuine institute of democracy," Matviyenko said.
Her participation in the inter-parliamentary forum was disrupted by the US authorities that had issued a restricted travel visa to her. She is one of a host of Russian officials, members of parliament, business people, and public activists blacklisted by the U.S. after Crimea’s reunification with Russia in March 2014.
Her video address was interrupted as there was no translation from Russian in the hall of the UN General Assembly. After a small pause the technical flaw was eliminated and the recording was restarted.
Matviyenko proposed participants in the conference to voice their opinion on a general inadmissibility of sanctions against members of parliament. "It would make sense to rule out forums under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in the countries using unlawful restrictions against the members of parliament who espouse the political outlooks alternative to the ones promulgated by Washington," she said.
The President of the Inter-Parliament Union, Saber Chowdhury, said earlier at the opening of the conference it was highly regrettable that the Russian delegation had been unable to come to New York.
The IPU firmly believes in the principles of dialogue, which has fundamental significance for democracy and international cooperation regardless of contradictions, he said adding that this conviction is a cornerstone for the IPU and is as crucial today as never before.
Chowdhury said the IPU had really hoped Valentina Matviyenko would attend the conference and her presence would facilitate the establishing of dialogue among different parliaments.