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Human rights defender: Fight for Russians' rights in Latvia to be continued also after ECHR’s rule

Ruslan Pankratov. Photo from his personal social network account

Ruslan Pankratov, a human rights defender, a member of the Riga City Council, has commented to EADaily on the refusal of the European court for human rights in Strasbourg (ECHR) to consider the case “About distortion of Russian names and surnames in passports of Latvia.”

The Court notified Ruslan Pankratov on the inadmissibility of his complaint and refused to consider the report that was accepted for consideration yet on June 18, 2006.

According to Pankratov, he learned from an official letter that Dean Spielmann, a judge from Luxembourg with participation of a well-known reporter from the Latvian side adopted a decision to reject the case.

“We had information that a political decision will be adopted on our case about the names.  Nevertheless, we hope that the highest judicial body of the European Union will preserve sound judgement and see the difference between the names Mark and Marx, let alone the difference between the names of Shishkin and Siskins, Pyshkin and Pickens, Yelena Shchuk and Jelena Suka,” Pankratov said. In his words, one does not need to be a lawyer to understand the evident discrimination and gross violation of the human rights freedoms of the Russian-speaking population by Latvia. In this light, the human rights defender recalled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms adopted on November 4 1950.

“We are greatly surprised with the magic influence of the Latvian representative on Mr. Spielmann, the chairman of the Fifth Section of the ECHR. The previously considered cases Stjerna v. Finland (1994) and Burghartz v. Switzerland (1994), as well as Guillot and Mustafa vs. France (dossier No.63 056/00) dating back to June 17, 2003 were left unaddressed.  It took the ECHR nine years to pass an evidently Russophobic decision pursuing forceful assimilation…In this context, we cannot rule out a criminal plot, which is inadmissible for the known reasons. The Strasbourg court for human rights has been considered the etalon of the International Law until now.  However, it is far from true. Europe is in agony and the declaration of alleged European values is nothing but a fiction and cheap decoration of rampant degradation. The fight will not end with this, of course,” Ruslan Pankratov said.

The human rights defender recalled that in its Document (UN Document CCPR/C/100/D/1621/2007) dating October 28 2010, United Nations Human Rights Committee had already condemned Latvia for grossly violating the International Law. “The Committee considers that the State party's unilateral modification of names on official documents is not reasonable, and thus amounted to arbitrary interference with one’s privacy, in violation of article 17 of the Covenant,” the document says.

The Committee recalls “the introduction of the concept of arbitrariness is intended to guarantee that even interference provided for by law should be in accordance with the provisions, aims and objectives of the Covenant and should be, in any event, reasonable in the particular circumstances.”

The document says that “pursuant to article 2 of the Covenant, the State party has undertaken to ensure to all individuals within its territory or subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the Covenant and to provide an effective and enforceable remedy when it has been determined that a violation has occurred.”

To recall, distortion of the non-Latvian surnames in the official Latvian documents is one of the pressing issues for the local national minorities. Under the Latvian legislation, the Russian names and surnames are written in line with the Latvian grammar and phonetics (for instance, Ivans Ivanovs, Igors Eremins etc.).

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