Ben Cardin: human rights in Russia are a subject of international interest

Influential Democratic Senator in an interview &# 171; Voice of America&# 187; talks about the importance of bringing perpetrators of human rights violations to justice

A bipartisan group of US senators on October 1 sent a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin calling for sanctions against Russian officials who systematically violate human rights. US politicians mentioned, in particular, Prosecutor General of Russia Yuri Chaika and Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov.
According to the senators, who referred to the statistics of the human rights center “Memorial”, there are more than 200 political prisoners in Russia, and since 2015 their number has increased significantly.
Separately, members of the US Senate mentioned repressions against participants in the Moscow protests this summer, which arose as a result of the refusal to register many opposition candidates in the elections to the Moscow City Duma..
Earlier, representatives of the Kremlin and the Russian parliament responded with irritation to criticism of the actions of the police against the protesters and argued that the brutal crackdown on Moscow street rallies was an internal affair of Russia..
Ben Cardin, a Democratic Senator from Maryland and one of the authors of the Magnitsky Act, in an exclusive interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America spoke about the importance of international attention to the problem of human rights in Russia.

Ben Cardin: human rights in Russia are a subject of international interest

Danila Galperovich: Senator, why do you think the US should remind Moscow of responsibility for human rights violations??
Ben Cardin: There are several reasons why the international community should be concerned about what is happening in Russia. First, Russia is a signatory to the Helsinki Final Act, which makes each signatory country responsible for monitoring the situation in other countries. So this is a subject of international interest. Secondly, the US Congress, by adopting the Magnitsky Act, made it clear that we will not allow anyone to violate the rights of people in their country, take away their basic freedoms, and at the same time enjoy the advantages of democracy in our country, use its banking system. had the opportunity to visit our country. This is all in our interests. And a bipartisan group of senators said in their letter that the spike in arrests of people who stood up for their fundamental rights in Russia needed an international response, led by the United States. We must use targeted sanctions to make it clear that this is not permissible..

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Sen. Ben Cardin on Russia-U.S. Relations

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D.G .: Do you think that a letter from 11 senators will be enough for the administration to take real action to impose sanctions on Russian officials??
B.K .: It is always difficult to predict how the Trump administration will respond. But I can tell you that there is strong support from both parties for the following position: we cannot allow such actions in Russia to remain out of condemnation. If we leave it that way, other repressive actions will follow, and this is contrary to US security interests. So it is important for the United States to show leadership in this case, and I think that with such strong support from both parties, the administration will take the necessary action..
D.G .: Could the United States join forces in protecting human rights in Russia with similar efforts by European countries?
B.K .: We already see this – after the United States passed the Magnitsky Act, similar laws were adopted by some other countries, and the European Union also took certain actions. So yes, I think we can coordinate our efforts, and all of this will be much more effective if sanctions under the Magnitsky Act are imposed outside the United States..
D.G .: Will you raise the issue of Russian political prisoners and human rights violations in Russia at the upcoming sessions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, where you are sitting in the same room with the Russian delegation??
B.K .: This is a very important point – to raise the issue of human rights at any meetings in the international format. I hope the initiative of our Senate group will inspire US representatives to raise this issue. Naturally, we cannot just put this on the agenda, but I can assure you that we will call on democracies to raise the issue of human rights as an issue that requires priority attention..

  • Danila Galperovich

    Reporter for the Russian Service «Voices of America» in Moscow. Collaborates with «Voice of America» since 2012. For a long time he worked as a correspondent and presenter of programs in the Russian service of the BBC and «Radio Liberty». Specialization – international relations, politics and legislation, human rights.

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