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Helsinki Co-Chairman Hastings Remembers Human Rights Activist Natalya Estemirova

WASHINGTON— Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) introduced a resolution today in the House of Representatives to express solidarity with human rights defenders in the Russian Federation.  The resolution was introduced following the one-year anniversary of the brutal murder of Chechen human rights activist Natalya Estemirova and commemorates her life and those of her colleagues that work under constant threat in Chechnya and elsewhere in Russia. 

In a statement introducing the resolution, Hastings said that Estemirova “led a courageous life of denouncing corruption, calling for a fair judicial system, and standing up for human rights.  For that she was cut down. While her killers may have ended her life, they will never silence the voice she brought to these issues.” 

The resolution expresses solidarity with human rights defenders in the Russian Federation; urges the Russian authorities to take appropriate steps to end the harassment, persecution and attacks against activists; and calls for an end to impunity for those responsible for such acts through the conduct of timely, transparent and thorough criminal investigations into the unresolved murders of human rights defenders, journalists, and political opposition members and the prosecution of all of those responsible for these crimes.

On July 21, 2010, the U.S. Helsinki Commission will hold a briefing entitled: “In the Eye of the Storm: Chechnya and the Mounting Violence in the North Caucasus.”  The briefing will be at 10:00 a.m. in Room 340 of the Cannon House Office Building.  Following the briefing a documentary film produced by Memorial will be screened. 

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