On 14 May parliamentary hearing "On Problems with Observing Human Rights in Member States of the European Union" was held for the first time in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. The event was attended by members of the State Duma, representatives of federal authorities, diplomatic corps, civil society, as well as academia and mass media.
It was repeatedly emphasised during the hearing that human rights are of universal character and should be respected in all countries taking into account their social, economic, political and religious specificities. Special attention was paid to concrete cases of human rights violations in EU Member States, including violations of rights of Russian citizens and compatriots. Participants noted a worrying trend in EU countries of increasing manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, tendency of falsification of the history of the World War II and connivance to followers of neo-Nazism under the pretext of respect of the freedom of speech. It was stressed that the EU has no monopoly to develop and interpret a modern human rights concept, and that the EU often uses human rights mainly to reach its own narrow political objectives and with explicit application of double standards.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed participants of the hearing of major problems with observing human rights in the EU, based on the Ministry’s report "On Situation with Human Rights in Certain States of the World", as well as of the areas of cooperation with the EU in the promotion and protection of human rights. A number of problematic issues of our cooperation and approaches towards their resolution were also presented.
The hearing is to result in the adoption of recommendations addressed both to Russian federal authorities and EU Member States and EU structures with a view to ensure a truly equal and depolitisised Russia-EU cooperation in the area of human rights.