- 2019-02-13 to 2019-02-18 On 13-18 February, the Vice-Minister Darius Skusevičius visits Uruguay
- 2019-02-18 On 18 February at 2 p.m., the Vice-Minister Albinas Zananavičius attends a meeting with Céline Gauer, Deputy Secretary-General of the European Commission
- 2019-02-18 On 18 February, the Minister Linas Linkevičius attends Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels
- 2019-02-19 On 19 February, the Vice-Minister Albinas Zananavičius participates in the General Affairs Council in Brussels
Report under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism on very serious human rights violations in Chechnya
The OSCE’s Report under the Moscow Mechanism on alleged Human Rights Violations and Impunity in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation was presented at the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on 20 December.
The Report under the Moscow Mechanism was drafted by the independent expert of the Moscow Mechanism, Professor Dr Wolfgang Benedek, at the request of sixteen OSCE participating States, Lithuania among them. The evidence provided by Professor Dr Benedek in his Report confirmed allegations of grave violations of human rights – harassment and persecution, arbitrary or unlawful arrests or detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions. There is also proof of several waves of repressions, violations and abuses against persons based on their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. The Report states that the rule of law does not work effectively in Chechnya; the repressive state apparatus is free to act against its opponents and human rights defenders as it is protected by impunity thus creating an atmosphere of lawlessness and fear.
Having presented the Report, Professor Dr Wolfgang Benedek made an overview of the recommendations contained in the document where the Russian Federation is urged to establish a special investigative committee in order to undertake an investigation into human rights violations, and, in the absence of such an effective investigation, an independent investigation should be conducted by international experts.
In the Joint Statement on Moscow Mechanism Expert Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses in Chechnya, the sixteen participating States which had invoked the Moscow Mechanism thanked Professor Dr Wolfgang Benedek for the information based on testimonies obtained from witnesses and regretted a lack of cooperation from the Russian side, including the denial of access to the independent expert to its territory and the denial of support in having meetings with Russian governmental authorities. In their Statement, the sixteen States took note of the recommendations contained in the Report, urged Russia to release Oyub Titiev, who is Director of the Human Rights Center “Memorial” in Chechnya, and work towards full implementation of the OSCE human dimension commitments in the Chechen Republic.
The publication of the Report is believed to contribute to the creation of the safe environment for Russian human rights defenders in Chechnya and the whole of Russia and will encourage the international community to take more active actions in calling on Russia to ensure human rights and the rule of law in the country in line with international human rights standards.
One of the OSCE human dimension tools – the Moscow Mechanism – was invoked by Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Finland, Sweden, and Germany on 1 November this year.
The Moscow Mechanism was last invoked in 2011 because of human rights violations in Belarus and in 2003 against Turkmenistan concerning persecution of political opponents.