Dmitry Utkin, a representative of the Committee against torture, took part in the European Parliament public hearings on human rights in Russia

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21 February 2013

On February 20, 2013 hearings on human rights in Russia were held in Brussels. They had been prepared by the human rights subcommittee of the European Parliament. The main topic of discussion was the issues of social and economic rights observance in Russia. Also views were exchanged on observing of rights of citizens in the police and penal facilities.

(Photo: Reuters)

The head of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Department of the International Federation for human rights(FIDH) Sasha Kulayeva, the leader of the movement “For human rights” Lev Ponomarev and the representative of IRPO “Committee against torture” Dmitry Utkin took part in the hearings on the part of nonprofit organizations.

Dmitry emphasized in his speech, that the level of violence in the law-enforcement authorities still remains high. «The special department of the Committee of Inquiry on investigating the crimes committed by the law enforcement officers physically can’t deal with the large amount of cases on the excess of powers. The law-enforcement officers have a stable opinion, that tortures are just a work tool. Moreover, the officials more and more often stand in defense for their subordinates, accused of tortures. Rather often the criminal proceedings are initiated without procrastination only when the victim became disabled or died as a result of tortures»,  – Utkin noted.

The Ombudsman of MIA RF Konstantin Dolgov pointed out in his turn, that though Russia had taken the road of democratization not so long ago, she had already made a huge step forward in this direction. He claimed that the living standard of Russian people had risen in the last years, while 120 million people in Europe live below the poverty line. Also Mr.Dolgov touched upon recent changes in the legislation on nonprofit organizations. He thinks that the legislation initiatives of late are in line with human rights observance and are a normal practice in democratic countries.

The deputies of the European Parliament, though, criticized severely the actions of the authorities concerning the Magnitsky case and enacting a number of laws, substantially limiting the rights of citizens of Russia and nonprofit organizations.