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.
In particular, the proposed restriction of 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 as I do in all Council of Europe member states, where 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.
A key element of my work is that I treat all countries by the same standards. Accepting the special conditions requested by the Russian authorities would have been unjust as a matter of principle and ineffective for the protection of human rights in the Russian Federation.
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.
I hope that the authorities of the Russian Federation will change their stance and restore full co-operation with my office by facilitating the independent and effective performance of my mandate in the future, including within Russia itself. In the meantime, I will continue following the human rights situation in Russia from afar, expressing myself thereon and engaging with relevant partners as necessary and appropriate.