The Interregional NGO Committee against Torture has launched Russia-Wide campaign “Law enforcement agent, remember your Oath of Honour”, related to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture which is commemorated annually on June 26. In several regions of the country the authorities were not at all happy with the idea of human rights defenders to remind of the Oath of Honour, and didn’t authorize this.
As you may remember, the decision to annually observe the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26 was taken in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly at the proposal of the UN Economic and Social Council. On this day in 1987, the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment went into effect. Every year this day is commemorated to eradicate torture and to promote the effective functioning of the Convention.
As the initiators of the campaign so intended, information boards with quotations from the Oath of Honour of law enforcement agents with the police, the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office are to remind them and all the citizens that they have solemnly sworn to faithfully uphold the Constitution and defend human rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, in only two of the regions where the Committee has regional branches, we managed to receive permission to place these information boards: in Nizhny Novgorod and Orenburg.
In the Republics of Mari El and Bashkortostan the project, that had already been paid for, was unexpectedly rejected. In Yoshkar-Ola this was done under the pretense of placing some urgent public service advertising (through, by June 3 it had not been placed yet). As for Ufa, the advertising agency LLC RG “Virtuoz” was honest enough to explain, that permission to place information boards of the kind was not granted by the Head of the City Administration Press Office, Askar Fazlyev. He, in his turn, suggested that we should replace the text “Law enforcement agent, remember your Oath of Honour” with his variant “Law enforcement agent, we believe you to remember your Oath of Honour”. But in the end, even this variant didn’t do.
(Even these boards were not authorized in Ufa)
(This is how the information boards with public service advertisement in Yoshkar-Ola looked on 3 June 2013)
We regret to conclude, fear that something “could come of it” still rules the behaviour of many representatives of our authorities. This even prevents them from permitting to place information boards with the Oath of Honour, which is supposed to be the guideline stipulating work of law enforcement agents.
We are determined to appeal against this unlawful act of the advertising agents and the authorities of the city.