Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kelam: Stop Politicization of Human Rights

Kelam: The European Union must oppose the politicizing of human rights by Russia

12-11-2007, Strasbourg

(via Mari-Ann Kelam)

In his speech at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg November 12, Tunne Kelam of the European Peoples’ Party and European Democrats faction sharply criticized an idea to create a Russian-European institute for democracy and human rights as proposed by Moscow at the recent EU-Russia summit in Mafra.

President Putin sees this institute as a Russian Center in the European Union which would be financed from the Russian state budget.

"Russian representatives have openly admitted that this step is planned as a political countermeasure against the European Union’s continuing criticisms of the worsening situation with human rights in Russia,” stated Kelam.

Kelam emphasized that EU leaders have to oppose any and all attempts to politicize the topic of human rights.

"Sufficient mechanisms to develop dialogue between Russia and the EU on human rights already exist," said Tunne Kelam. "These mechanisms have not been adequately used because Russia has not responded to problems pointed out by the EU.”

According to Tunne Kelam it has become clear that Russia plans to finance such an institute and its activities.

"To push this idea to its logical conclusion, we can imagine that tomorrow, for example, President Ahmadinejad would demand the creation on EU territory of an institute financed by Iran to study human rights and the Holocaust,” added Kelam.

Tunne Kelam is convinced that implementing the proposal made in Mafra would discredit the noble cause of defending human rights.

Kelam believes that the hope of some EU representatives that agreeing to the proposal would in turn open the door for financing independent non-profit organizations in Russia is short-sighted and naive.
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