As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council
Vienna, July 10, 2014
The United States condemns the attack on human rights defender Andrei Yurov in Voronezh, Russia on July 1. We understand Mr. Yurov was attacked outside his office by two men who threw antiseptic into his face yelling, “Take that!” He suffered first degree burns to his face as a result of the attack. Andrei Yurov is a member of the Russian Federation’s Presidential Human Rights Advisory Panel. He regularly makes valuable contributions to OSCE events including HDIM and the annual OSCE ministerial civil society parallel conference. Andrei last came to Vienna on May 8 to join legendary Crimean Tatar and human rights activist Mustafa Dzhemilev in a discussion about the rights of members of minorities in Russian-occupied Crimea – especially ethnic Ukrainians and Tatars.
We urge our colleagues in the Russian Federation to share our concerns with local authorities and ask that they conduct a thorough investigation into this incident. We fear that this attack is the consequence of a climate of hostility created by Russian authorities toward members of civil society. We call upon all participating States to support an OSCE Ministerial Decision affirming that human rights defenders enjoy the same rights to physical safety as every other individual.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.