Russia: Human rights groups call on authorities to respect the Constitution


Memorial has issued a statement supporting the action in defence of Article 31 of the Russian Federation Constitution planned by a group of Russian citizens – Ludmila Alexeeva, Konstantin Kosyakin and Edward Limonov. In accordance with Russian legislation they filed the latest of a number of applications to hold a public gathering on Victory Square on 31 January at 18.00 in defence of Article 31 of the Constitution.

“The Moscow Government has yet again refused to sanction the rally. This is the seventh refusal to hold such an action at that time and place. The pretext this time, as with other refusals recently, is brazen: an event entitled “Winter Fun” is supposed scheduled on the square.

With such behaviour the authorities are demonstrating their open disregard for the norms of the Russian Constitution. Article 31 of the Russian Federation Constitution states that “Citizens of the Russian Federation have the right to gather peacefully, without weapons, hold gatherings, rallies and demonstrations, processions and pickets”. Guided by the norms of this Article, the organizers of the rally have announced their intention to hold peaceful actions in defence of Article 31 of the Constitution on every 31st day of the month on Victory Square in spite of the unlawful ban by the authorities.

The Memorial Human Rights Centre finds the demonstrative refusal by the authorities to sanction a public event unacceptable. In view of this, together with the Moscow Helsinki Group and the All-Russian Movement “For Human Rights” we support the action and plan to come out on 31 January 2010 at 18.00 on Victory Square, wearing badges in defence of Article 31 of the Constitution.

We call on the authorities to observe the law.

We hope that the authorities will not resort to force against the action’s participants exercising their constitutional right.”

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