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Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned Russian and international human rights organizations, which gathered in Stockholm on 23-24 November 2010 to discuss the continuing human rights crisis in the North Caucasus, would like to draw your attention to the lack of effective implementation of the Assembly's Resolution 1738 (2010)"Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North Caucasus region," which was based on the June 1 report by the Committee's rapporteur, Dick Marty.

In June 2010 this year, we welcomed Mr. Marty's report, which included detailed descriptions of specific cases of violations, and demanded the effective prosecution of such cases as an important step toward ending impunity and re-establishing the rule of law in the North Caucasus.  We fully support Resolution 1738 (2010), particularly the following steps the Assembly recommended the Russian government to take:

13.1.2. bring to trial in accordance with the law all culprits of human rights violations, including members of the security forces, and to clear up the many crimes which have gone unpunished...;

13.1.3. provide the necessary conditions to ensure that victims of human rights abuses have access to justice and are free to exercise their rights to an effective remedy before the judicial authorities and enjoy adequate protection;

13.1.4. intensify co-operation with the Council of Europe in enforcing the judgments of the Court, especially where they concern reinforcement of the individual measures to clear up the cases of, in particular, abduction, murder and torture in which the Court has ascertained a lack of proper investigation;

13.1.6. co-operate more closely with the organisations working on the ground in defence of human rights and of civil society as a whole, and protect their staff members effectively against possible reprisals;

We especially note that the Russian delegation to the Assembly and high-level Russian officials endorsed Resolution 1738, giving an important indication of their commitment to ensure its implementation.

Unfortunately, in the six months following the adoption of Resolution 1738, the human rights situation in the region has not improved and there has been no tangible progress in investigations into concrete cases of human rights violations in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia documented in Mr. Marty's report.

We therefore respectfully urge resumption of the mandate under which Mr. Marty undertook his work on the North Caucasus. It is crucial that the momentum created by Mr. Marty's report not get lost and that the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee be empowered to follow up in a sustained manner on this work. As a first step, the Committee should, at the earliest opportunity, request information from the Russian government regarding the course of investigation into the cases documented in the June 2010 report. We further hope to see the Committee appoint a rapporteur to carry out a follow-up mission to the region with the objective of reporting to the Assembly on the degree of progress achieved in the investigation of the cases detailed in his report and more broadly the dynamics of the human rights situation in the region. We are prepared to offer our expertise in supporting this mission, including by providing our own findings and facilitating meetings with victims and witnesses of violations.

Russian Assembly members' endorsement of Resolution 1738 was a significant step, and gives reason for hope that the Russian authorities will meet this initiative in the spirit of cooperation and genuine interest in improving the human rights situation in North Caucasus region.

Thank you for your urgent attention to this pressing matter.


Civil Rights Defenders

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International


Carl Gershman, President, the National Endowment for Democracy, USA

Russian Justice Initiative

Committee against Torture

Civil Society and Freedom of Speech Initiative Center for the Caucasus

Voice of Beslan

Mothers of Dagestan


Mothers of Kabardino-Balkaria for Democracy and Peace


Norwegian Helsinki Committee

Chechen Committee for National Salvation

Israpil Shovkhalov, Editor-in-Chief, Journal Dosh

Varvara Pakhomenko, Consultant on the North and South Caucasus

Östgruppen - Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights

Status Quo

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