US, Finnish support to rights activists

The OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting is taking place in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on 24 September – 5 October 2007.

Mr Zakhar Prilepin, writer and editor-in-chief of the Nizhny Novgorod edition of the Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and Ms Oksana Chelysheva, deputy chairperson of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS), were invited to attend the meeting.

Ms Chelysheva said that, after the scandal at the OSCE High-Level Meeting on Victims of Terrorism in Vienna on 13-14 September 2007, when the RCFS was refused entry, the invitation to Warsaw was an important sign of solidarity and support on the part of the international community to all democratic forces being harassed in Russia.

Mr Prilepin and Ms Chelysheva met with the representatives of the US mission to the OSCE. The US Helsinki Commission hosted a briefing on “Human Rights Defenders in Russia”, focusing on the efforts by Russian NGOs, human rights activists, and legal experts to halt the retreat in the area of human rights and civil liberties that has taken place in Russia under the current government.

In addition, Mr Prilepin and Ms Chelysheva met with the Finnish Ambassador to the OSCE, Mr Antti Turunen. He expressed his support to his Russian interlocutors and assured that Finland would work consistently to protect those forces within Russia that adhere to the principles of democracy..

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