Joint statement of Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States on Russian courts’ decisions to liquidate Memorial


December 31, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

“We deplore the decisions by two Russian courts to forcibly close International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Centre. For more than three decades, Memorial has fulfilled a unique role in documenting historical crimes and recovering for posterity the memory of the tens of millions of victims of political repression in the country. Memorial has also advocated tirelessly for the protection of human rights in Russia, exposing appalling abuses, including in the North Caucasus, and maintaining a growing list of individuals it considers political prisoners. The claim by Russian authorities that the Memorial Human Rights Centre’s principled and peaceful work ‘justifies extremism and terrorism’ cannot be accepted. Memorial’s work has never been more needed.

“These unconscionable decisions to silence Memorial follows many months of deepening and systematic repression in Russia against human rights defenders, independent media outlets and journalists, political opposition members and other critical voices, as well as religious minorities and other marginalized groups. This further harms Russia’s international reputation, as the respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law constitutes one of the foundations of the rules-based international order.

“We call on Russia to uphold the international human rights obligations and commitments to which it has agreed, and we continue to condemn the Russian legislation on ‘foreign agents,’ which further silences independent voices and shrinks the space for civil society. The people of Russia, like people everywhere, have the right to freedom of expression and association, including in defense of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”


Maeva Proteau
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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