“The Responsibility of States”: Protection of Human Rights Defenders in the OSCE Region (2014–2016) (excerpts), 2017

1.3 Confronting stigmatization and marginalization


1.3.4 Ethnic minority human rights defenders


170. In Latvia, a human rights defender informed ODIHR of discrimination by government authorities against himself and two other activists defending the rights of ethnic Russians.163(..)

Footnote 163 Input from the Latvian Human Rights Committee of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, which provided two case examples of criticism against the activists in the annual reports of Latvia’s Security Police, available at: http://www.dp.gov.lv/en/.


2.5 Freedom of movement and human rights work within and across boundaries


313. In Lithuania, on 25 August 2015, an ethnic-Russian human rights defender from Latvia was denied entry into Lithuania, and banned from entry for 5 years. The human rights defender, Aleksandrs Kuzmins, is a board member of the Latvian Human Rights Committee of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues. The NGO defends the human rights of ethnic-Russian minority community members in Latvia, including their language rights, housing rights, citizenship rights, and protection from discrimination. Mr. Kuzmins and his Lithuanian lawyer provided detailed accounts and official documents verifying his ban from entry into Lithuania. In November and December 2015, they corresponded with authorities requesting clarifications on the grounds of his exclusion, but were told they had to translate and certify his passport in order to see the order on which his ban was based. After a further exchange of letters to obtain the decision, as a basis on which to file an administrative appeal, the Lithuanian Ministry of Interior informed Mr. Kuzmins in September 2016 that the ban had been canceled. According to the notice he received, the ban had been lifted at the end of 2015, without his notification or responses to the preceding three letters of his attorney. Based on the information reviewed by ODIHR, the denial of entry and temporary ban from Lithuania appeared to constitute disproportionate restrictions on Mr. Kuzmins’ right to freedom of movement.328

Footnote 328  For additional background on the case, see also: Human Rights Watch, “Lithuania: Latvian Activist Barred from Visiting” (18 September 2015), available at: https://www.hrw.org/print/281299.

Document data: Published 14.09.2017 Link: https://www.osce.org/odihr/341366 (also in Russian)

Tagged: Tags