Latvian foreign minister urges Russia to investigate human rights violations in Chechnya
The Russian authorities should urgently undertake a thorough investigation into the torture and persecution of individuals, especially based on their sexual orientation, in Chechnya and ensure their security across the region, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said during the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Tuesday, May 16.
Investigation of the reports about human rights violations arises from Russia's commitments as a member of the Council of Europe and a state party to international conventions, he said.
Rinkevics also called on the EU ministers to raise the issue of the human rights violations in Russia at the upcoming session of the European Council in Cyprus, the Latvian Foreign Ministry said.
In a discussion on the Eastern Partnership, Rinkevics called for the Eastern Partnership to be kept high on the EU agenda and for ensuring further development of the current policy. "The implementation of the Riga Summit decisions must continue and the Eastern Partnership must be sustained as a common political framework for all partners, said the Minister. At the same time, it is vital to follow a differentiated approach and think of the ways forward with the most ambitious countries, in particular, by promoting cooperation in trade and other areas," he said.
Rinkevics positively evaluated current support from the EU for partner countries through simplifying entry regulations and lifting customs duties. It is the residents of the partner countries who benefit most from the Eastern Partnership, and people should also remain in the focus of the Eastern Partnership policy in future, stressed the Latvian foreign minister. In a discussion on preparations for the Eastern Partnership Summit to take place in Brussels in November 2017, he noted that the summit should set realistic aims to the partner countries and the future vector of the partnership.
In a debate on Eu-africa relations, Rinkevics underscored that, to effectively fight against common challenges related to terrorism, migration, economic development and climate change, closer cooperation is required at the bilateral level and in international formats.