Press conference on human rights situation in Northern Caucasus


On 14th April Ms Hautala, Chairwoman of European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights chaired a press conference with Lidia Yusupova,
Chechen human rights advocate[:] who works for the independent media portal Caucasian Knot and has in the past worked for the the Grozny office of Memorial and Simon Panek, director of Czech NGO, People in Need. People in Need is the organisation behind the One World International Human Rights Film Festival which is bringing a selection of its films to Brussels and also to the European Parliament. Press conference was held ahead of the screening of film, “Anna, Seven Years on the Frontline” to honor the work of slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya and discuss the deepening human rights crisis in the North Caucasus today.

In her introductory remarks Ms Hautala noted that the medium of film is becoming increasingly important in the protection and promotion of human rights while the film makers have become key actors in this struggle for progress.

This is also the case in Russia and especially Northern Caucasus. When there are not many channels to exhange information and express views concerning the human rights situation in Northern Caucasus, the films become the tool by which these can be achieved the best way, Ms Hautala noted.

The situation of Chechnya and the wider Caucasus region remains grim and it seems there is an evident downward spiral with respect of accountability and rule of law. Ms Yusupova explained that killings, abductions and violence are still a daily reality for many parts of that region. Ms Hautala noted that should be seen against the backdrop that EU failed Chechnya and now is on the way of failing the wider Caucasus region as the violence and instability has spread. She called for more stern focus on the situation by the EU. “EU cannot afford to postpone more rigorous commitment to defend human rights in Northern Caucasus any longer”, she stressed.