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Statement by the President of the Conference of INGOs

Support to MEMORIAL
Strasbourg 17 November 2015
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Statement by the President of the Conference of INGOs

MEMORIAL – the International Historical and Educational Human Rights and Charity Society - is one of the 325 INGOs with participatory status with the Council of Europe and a member of the Conference of INGOs.

Therefore, the Conference is concerned about the statement by the Russian Ministry of Justice accusing MEMORIAL of undermining the constitutional order, thereby threatening the organisation with criminal prosecution.

To quote Oleg Orlov, Board member of MEMORIAL; “Apparently, now criticism of the authorities is equivalent to calling for the overthrow of the government.”

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe underlines that it is one of the main characteristics of democracy that freedom of expression and association includes the right for NGOs to ask for policy changes, and to keep a critical eye on governments’ exercise of their power.

MEMORIAL, created by Andreï Sakharov, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, had contributed to the reconstruction of the national memories in many member states  of the Council of Europe. National and international history based on evidence, contribute to the building of a democratic and free society.

I call upon the member states of the Council of Europe, which have benefited from MEMORIAL’s expertise, to express their position and to implement the diplomatic measures required to re-establish MEMORIAL’s freedom of action..

I call upon the Russian authorities to withdraw the charges against MEMORIAL and restore dignity to this INGO .