While between 2005 and 2010, eleven rounds of human rights consultations have been held, eight Russian human rights defenders, including direct interlocutors and active participants to the process, were assassinated.
FIDH’s evaluation highlights the fact that the EU-Russia Human rights consultations have neither contributed to an improvement of the human rights situation in Russia, nor increased the level of support to Human rights defenders. On the contrary, they have highlighted the lack of willingess of the Russian Government to improve the modalities of the consultations and its human rights record.
In this context, FIDH strongly feels and fears that the human rights consultations are being “instrumentalised”, and have become a “process” rather than a mean to achieve measurable and tangible results. Thus, while it is essential to maintain a direct channel for interaction with, and support, to Russian human rights defenders, without a serious review of the modalities and public outputs of the consultations, FIDH would recommend to suspend the consultations.
Public indicators of progress: on an annual basis, a set of specific objectives and (even minimal) steps should be set; concrete benchmarks measuring progress on these objectives should be shared between each round of the consultations; NGOs should receive this list of specific objectives and benchmarks;
Improved modalities for the dialogue, including on the alternance of the location of the consultations, on the interaction between Russian NGOs and Russian authorities on the occasion of this process, and on the composition of the Russian delegation. The absence of improvements should be officially expressed at the highest level of the EU-Russian relations;
Public substantial assessments of progress: more substantial assessments of the effective results of each round of the consultations and of the overall human rights evolutions should be made by the EU, on the occasion of EU-Russia Summits and Following the Partnership Council meetings.