On 7 December 2012 another round of Russia-EU Expert Human Rights Consultations took place in Brussels. The parties discussed a broad range of issues of international human rights agenda, as well as various aspects of our co-operation in this sphere in international fora – the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council. The Russian side drew the partners’ attention to the flawed practice of using the subject of human rights as an instrument of pressure in foreign policy and the resulting politicisation of activities of international human rights mechanisms.
A traditional exchange of views was held on the situation in the sphere of human rights in Russia and EU member states. The EU was urged to undertake real steps in order to resolve problems related to the rights of Russian-speaking population in Baltic states, increased manifestations of neo-Nazi sentiments, racial discrimination and xenophobia, excessive use of force when breaking up peaceful demonstrations, the rights of migrants as well as infringements of the right to privacy. Issues such as the rule of law in domestic policy and international affairs, development of civil society, religious freedoms and children’s rights were also discussed.
Russian experts stated that the EU lacks supranational mechanisms of promotion and protection of human rights by its member states and that the European Commission is mainly focused on the assessment of the human rights situation in third countries. In this context they noted the importance of the European Union’s prompt accession to the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) on equal conditions with other participants.