Support Russian Activists Calling for their Constitutional Rights
Human rights defenders and opposition political activists have formed a coalition in Russia to defend basic political rights that have been under attack for years. The Strategy 31 protests are organized on the 31st day of every month that has 31 days, with the next one scheduled to take place on March 31st. They take their name from Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which upholds freedom of peaceful assembly.
By trying to convene peaceful political assemblies in cities throughout Russia while routinely facing obstruction from the authorities, the protesters hope to demonstrate the extent to which basic political freedoms, in this case the right to peaceful assembly, are denied in practice. Previous attempts to convene such rallies have been broken up by police with hundreds of participants, including leading political and human rights figures, taken into detention.
TAKE ACTION NOW to urge Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to grant peaceful protesters the rights guaranteed to them by Article 31 of the Russian Constitution and by binding international human rights treaties.
Alert Date: 3/22/2010
c/o Russian Embassy in Washington DC
2641 Tunlaw Road NW,
Washington, DC 20007
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to express my concern over the repeated denial of the basic right to peaceful assembly to people in Russia. The denial of this right, upheld in Article 31 of the Russian Constitution and in international human rights treaties binding on Russia, has been demonstrated by a series of protests in recent months that have been broken up and obstructed by the authorities, including by the deployment of heavily-armed riot police against peaceful demonstrators.
These protests are arranged to take place on the thirty-first day of every month in which there are thirty-one days, thus the next one is scheduled for March 31st in cities throughout Russia. By choosing this day, the protesters are calling attention to the denial of their right provided under Article 31 of the Constitution. The protests that have become known as Strategy 31 are led by opposition political figures and by leading human rights activists. Several of these leaders, including the 82-year-old founder of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, have been detained together with hundreds of other participants and by-standers.
I urge you to instruct law enforcement agencies in Russia not to disrupt or obstruct any peaceful protests convened on March 31st designed to support political rights provided for in the Constitution of the Russian Federation. In particular, I seek assurances that no one will be detained or mistreated by police officers for exercising their right to peaceful assembly.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I will continue to closely monitor this situation.