On March 13, human rights activists and relatives of Ukrainian prisoners in Russia urged the European Parliament to increase international pressure on Moscow.
“In authoritarian Russia, getting justice is impossible. The only chance for our relatives to return home and put a stop to the increasing political repression in the annexed Crimea is to increase international pressure on Moscow, which deliberately disregards the principles of international law,” the statement said.
Human rights activists are calling for the resolution of the European Parliament to mention Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and the situation in the Crimea, and include specific points about introducing new sanctions from the EU against Russia for widespread violations of human rights in the annexed Crimea and the Donbas. The activists requested to nominate a special chairman in order to monitor the situation concerning violations of human rights in the Donbas and the Crimea.
Additionally, human rights activists are proposing that the resolution include requirements for Russia to allow unhindered access to international and intergovernmental organizations, in particular the monitoring of human rights issues by the UN.
According to the activists, at least 44 people are imprisoned in Russia, including director Oleg Sentsov and journalist Roman Sushchenko.
This week the European Parliament will consider a resolution concerning Ukrainian political prisoners and the situation in the annexed Crimea.
On March 13, the Council of the European Union extended for another six months the restrictive measures imposed by the European Union because of the violations of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence. They are in place until September 15, 2017.
These sanctions include the freezing of assets and a ban on 137 persons and 37 organizations from entering the EU.
The decision was approved and will go into effect on March 14, from the time it is published in the Official Journal of the European Union.