Re: Larissa Arap
To: President Vladimir Vladmirovich Putin and others
From: Darlene Kavka, LRWC
I write to you today on a matter of utmost urgency. Human rights defenders worldwide, are alarmed and disheartened to hear that Larissa Arap, a highly respected member of Russia’s intelligensia and courageous journalist, has been illegitimately hospitalized in a psychiatric institution outside the city of Murmansk. According to our information, Larissa Arap has been subjected to compulsory psychiatric treatment consisting of various procedures of a non-therapeutic and torturous nature since her confinement, including the forcible injection of unknown substances.
Larissa Arap’s most recent journalistic publications have involved criticism of Russia’s policies in relation to children in psychiatric facilities. The apparent objective of the psychiatric procedures Larissa Arap is being forcibly subjected to, translates into nothing less than torture, designed to punish her for her previous human rights work, or silence the possibility of future criticism of Russia’s human rights policies.
The members of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, are also active defenders of human rights who are united in their goal to protect and defend those individuals like Larissa Arap throughout the world.
We remind each of you that the Russian Federation, as a signatory to numerous international human rights treaties, is violating both internal and international agreements by defaulting on its obligation to protect Larissa Arap.
I therefore ask that each and every one of the addressees on this letter take immediate action to protect and build on the good reputation of Russia in the eyes of the international human rights community by doing the following:
1. See to it that Larissa Arap is immediately and unconditionally released from her arbitrary detention.
2. Ensure the ongoing safety of Larissa Arap be guaranteed.
3. Ensure that all acts of harassment of Larissa Arap be discontinued, particularly the acts of harassment that originate under the authority of the Russian Federation.
4. Ensure that Russia comply with all provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly n December 9, 1998, in particular:
a. Article 1, which promotes the “…realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.”; and
b. Article 12.2 which reads that “the State shall tale all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.
c. Uphold the principles and provisions of the international and regional human rights instruments ratified by the Russian Federation and, in particular, those which guarantee freedoms of association, demonstration, expression and opinion, such as the European Convention on Human Rights and the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The rich history and profoundly intelligent development of the Russian Federation gives me reason to believe that the only obstacle to the freedom and protection of all of the human rights advocates in Russian is a matter of directed good will, not incapacity. I call upon you all to muster your collective good will to spare and protect the life of Larissa Arap, immediately. I thank you for your efforts on behalf of Larissa Arap and encourage you to recognize that she is truly one of your National Treasures, working to make your Federation a home in which every Russian citizen can be most proud.