EU Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks cancels visit to Russia because of unacceptable restrictions imposed to his programme.
"In recent months, I have been discussing with the Russian authorities my intention to visit the Russian Federation in the third week of October to focus on several pressing human rights issues. It is with deep regret that I have to announce that this visit will not take place because of the unacceptable restrictions that the Russian authorities wanted to impose on my programme," Nils Muiznieks said in his 11 October statement on the Council of Europe website.
In particular, the Kremlin proposed to cut the visit to approximately 48 hours in Moscow alone, with only one full working day, would have not allowed sufficient time to carry out a substantive country visit, said Nils Muiznieks.
"In all Council of Europe member states I meet the authorities, national human rights institutions, civil society, and other relevant interlocutors, and I visit places of human rights relevance including outside the capital," he went on.
"According to the institutional provisions of my mandate, member states shall facilitate the independent and effective performance of my functions, including facilitating my contacts and providing information as requested in good time. As I told the Russian authorities, it is deeply disturbing and highly regrettable that these requirements are not fulfilled by the authorities of the Russian Federation today," Muiznieks pointed out.
Ukraine counts on Muiznieks' support in protecting the rights of Ukrainians illegally held in Russia, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has told EU Commissioner for Human Rights in a meeting.
In March, Muiznieks observed that the number of missing persons in Ukraine is growing faster than any other country in Europe. He also warned Ukraine against the isolation of Donbass and recommended to maintain contact with the temporarily occupied areas.