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The OSCE asked for our draft legislation
Written by Ирина Халай   
Понедельник, 06 Октябрь 2008
The OSCE asked for our draft legislation on protecting the rights of victims of terrorist attacks!

In Warsaw, Poland, from September 29th to October 10th, 2008, the annual meeting of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) was held to review the implementation of the obligations of member states in the field of human rights. Participants in the meeting were representatives from governments of OSCE participating States (56 countries), public organizations, as well as institutions and missions of the OSCE and other international organizations.

From September 30th to October 3rd, issues directly related to counter-terrorism and human rights were addressed, so I was invited by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to participate in this part of the meeting by making a presentation.

On September 30th, I flew to Warsaw and immediately went from the airport to the Hotel Sofitel Victoria, where such meetings are held. Leaving my things at the hatcheck counter, I went into the meeting hall to listen to the speakers. Each participant was provided simultaneous translation into his native language, which is convenient, since the speakers spoke several different languages.

Despite my delay, I was able to hear the speech of the representative of the Russian delegation. We heard the same speech at the meeting on victims of terror, conducted by the OSCE in Vienna in the autumn of 2007. In Warsaw, once again they were saying that in our country the protection of human rights is the main policy of the government, that the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia and the Russian Public Chamber do a lot to protect the rights of citizens, and so on and so forth. My experience in Vienna, when I had to make adjustments to my report after the speech by the official Russian delegation, was useful. So in Warsaw I adjusted my report by adding the rich experiences our organization has in its correspondence with the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia, with the Russian Public Chamber, and with all other branches of government.

Unfortunately, of all the officially registered organizations that protect the rights of victims of terrorist attacks in Russia, ours was the only one represented. At the meeting I met Ella Kesayeva, the chairman of the 'Voice of Beslan' organization, which had been stripped of its legal status in court. We both signed up to address the meeting. Even though there were many speakers at the conference, we were the only ones to talk specifically about the problems of victims of terror attacks. And they heard us.

Later, we met with the head of the Human Rights Department of the ODIHR, Mrs. Mlačak. She became interested in our offer, and asked for a copy of our draft bill so that the OSCE could become better acquainted with it. The official Russian delegation will now have to explain why it still has not adopted a law protecting the rights of victims, despite our constant appeals to the federal authorities.

I also gave her a sample of our application for a grant, which the Russian president allocates annually to NGOs. Though we did not receive a grant last year, we hope to get one. We need it to conduct a survey of adults and children needing treatment based on their injuries.

Oksana Chelysheva, representing Nizhny Novgorod's 'Novaya Gazeta', provided invaluable assistance at the meeting. Oksana has organized many meetings, and acted as an interpreter in interviews with the heads of delegations and the ambassadors of Germany, Austria and Holland. The three delegations expressed a keen interest in our problems, and promised to help if we sent all the supporting documents proving our claims. The head of German mission to the OSCE said that we could send the documents in Russian, but Holland and Austria asked us to translate them into English. There are more than 300 documents! But, if we wish for the European countries to help us, since our country will not, we must overcome.

The main thing we seek is the acceptance into law in Russia of a bill on social protection of victims of terrorist acts, and an international convention on protecting the rights of victims of terrorist attacks. Both acts should include us — victims of past terrorist attacks.

We want that our country, not just in words, but also in deeds, would protect the rights of victims of terrorist attacks.

Already, we have to think about the generation that will grow up and manage our country. What if these kids see now that neither they, nor their parents, are wanted, no matter who they grow up to be? It's not their fault that they became victims of terror attacks!

As the proverb goes: «As you sow, so shall you reap.»

Chairman of the 'Volga-Don' regional organization promoting the protection of the rights of victims of terrorist attacks

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