On Monday, 8 July the Saeima supported the draft decision “On further action by Latvia at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe” (PACE). The decision tasks the delegation of the Saeima to the PACE to engage in consultation with the parliamentary delegations and their members representing the countries which voted against the restoration of voting rights to the Russian Federation with the aim to agree on a common position before the fourth session of 2019 and decide on further action at the PACE.
In the decision, the Saeima expresses its regret regarding the PACE decision of 26 June 2019 to restore the voting rights of the Russian Federation, which were suspended in response to the annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, thereby violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as fundamental principles of international law.
It condemns Russia's continued policy of oppression and violence against Crimean Tatars in the territory of occupied Crimea, as well as abuses of human rights in Eastern Ukraine.
The decision also emphasises that the unconditional restoration of voting rights to the Russian Federation is incompatible with the principles and key values of the Council of Europe, and seriously undermines the reputation and capacity of the Council of Europe. Since the suspension of its voting rights, the Russian Federation has not returned to respect for international law and key principles, is continuing the annexation of Crimea, which is part of Ukraine, and fails to respond to calls for a diplomatic solution. The decision points out that the restoration of voting rights undermines trust in the Council of Europe and other international forums.
It reiterates that since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, more than 13 000 people have been killed and more than three million people have fled their homes, and there is no improvement in ensuring the territorial integrity of Ukraine. In the decision, the Saeima expresses its concerns that the restoration of voting rights to the Russian Federation in the said circumstances could encourage the Russian Federation to continue its aggressive foreign policy, thereby creating a threat to the security and stability of Europe.
The decision calls on the Russian Federation to return to the rule of international law, immediately cease its aggressive acts against Ukraine and Georgia, release political hostages and illegally arrested citizens of Ukraine, stop human rights abuses against Crimean Tatars and ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law.
The decision also calls on the PACE to realise that the restoration of voting rights to the Russian Federation causes great damage to the reputation of the Council of Europe, which might lead to losing the trust of the very people whose rights the organisation is supposed to protect.
Saeima Press Service