06MOSCOW797, A/S LOWENKRON’S MEETING WITH RUSSIA HUMAN RIGHTS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW797 2006-01-26 14:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO3104
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0797/01 0261428
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 261428Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9821
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000797 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/20/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL SOCI RS
SUBJECT: A/S LOWENKRON'S MEETING WITH RUSSIA HUMAN RIGHTS 
OMBUDSMAN VLADIMIR LUKIN 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Burns.  For reasons 1.4 
(b and d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY.  In a January 18 meeting with DRL A/S 
Lowenkron and the Ambassador, Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir 
Lukin said that his office has seen an increase in complaints 
of human rights violations.  Lukin highlighted his office's 
critical analysis of the first draft of the NGO law, saying 
that later analysis from the Presidential Administration 
mirrored many of his office's concerns.  Lukin said that 
foreign and domestic criticism could have been avoided had 
legislators taken into account feedback before introducing 
legislation.  He identified the ambiguity of the phrase 
"improper activity" in the NGO law as particularly worrisome 
and would not rule out further amendments to the law.  A/S 
Lowenkron expressed USG concern with the law, both in its 
draft stages and now in its implementation, and thanked Lukin 
for being vocal on issues of concern.  END SUMMARY. 
 
ROLE OF AN OMBUDSMAN 
-------------------- 
 
2. (C) On January 18 Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin 
discussed with A/S Lowenkron, Ambassador Burns, and DAS 
Kramer the role of his office in handling complaints of human 
rights violations.  According to Lukin, his office has 
recently seen an increase in complaints, with approximately 
40,000 received in his office annually.  Half of these 
complaints related to social problems, primarily lodged by 
pensioners, military servicemen, and government workers.  A 
third related to law enforcement abuses, which sometimes 
occurred in the regions.  Lukin said that his office sent 
representatives to investigate such complaints in the regions 
and to demand punishment, when necessary, from the local 
authorities.  Lukin added that he has brought complaints 
directly to President Putin several times when his office 
could not resolve them.  Other complaints related to 
political rights, including manipulation in elections or 
pressure on mass media. 
 
3. (C) To respond to complaints, Lukin explained, his office 
used both public and private tactics to denounce human rights 
violations.  He stressed that he was not a politician.  It 
was important to work constructively with the authorities to 
the extent possible, but at the same time to avoid the 
impression of being under the authorities' direction. 
 
NGO LAW 
------- 
 
4. (C) When A/S Lowenkron asked if Lukin foresaw more 
complaints for his office due to the new NGO law, Lukin 
responded that it would depend on how the law is implemented. 
 Lukin said that his office was very critical of the first 
draft of the law and subsequently sent a legal opinion to the 
Duma and to the Presidential Administration reflecting his 
concerns.  Ella Pamfilova of the Presidential's Council on 
Human Rights, the Public Chamber, and other public 
organizations also voiced their concerns.  It was after this, 
said Lukin, that the Presidential Administration released its 
legal opinion, which reflected many of the concerns in 
Lukin's report.  Once the new version of the law appeared in 
the Duma, his office again completed an analysis of the new 
draft, which was an improvement over the first draft. 
 
5. (C) Lukin expressed particular concern with the part of 
the NGO law which refers to NGOs carrying out "improper 
activities."  According to Lukin, he raised the problem of 
the vagueness of this phrase in a December 10 meeting with 
President Putin.  Lukin said that domestic and foreign 
criticism generated by the NGO law could have been avoided 
had legislators taken into account feedback from various 
organizations before introducing the draft legislation.  He 
added that Putin had assured German Chancellor Angela Merkel 
recently that implementation of the law would not harm 
domestic and foreign organizations.  If complaints appeared, 
Lukin's office would investigate.  If the implementation 
resulted in problematic situations, Lukin commented that he 
would not rule out amendments to the law, as has happened 
with previous laws. 
 
6. (C) A/S Lowenkron underlined that the USG had been very 
concerned about the draft law and still had serious concerns 
about how the law would be implemented.  Lowenkron expressed 
his appreciation to Lukin for raising areas of concern in the 
legislation and for encouraging consultation before 
introducing legislation.  Lowenkron also agreed that the 
issue of "improper activity" needed clarification.  Its 
vagueness would allow for abuse:  arbitrary decisions, 
delays, and lack of transparency on the part of Russian 
authorities. 
 
MOSCOW 00000797  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
7. (U) A/S Lowenkron has cleared this cable. 
BURNS

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