St.Petersburg Ombudsman Alexander Shishlov reported on protection of civil rights
Alexander Shishlov, Ombudsperson in St. Petersburg and YABLOKO Bureau member, made his first report in the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg.
On the whole he received 1643 written appeals, complaints and requests from citizens of St. Petersburg in 2012.
Most complaints referred to housing problems. Over half of them (52.3 per cent) dealt with failure to get housing from the government’s fund, 22 per cent dealt with housing property title, 10.7 per cent with maintenance of the housing, 9.8 per cent with housing construction and 5.2 per cent with bills on utility services.
Tenants from privatized hostels, hoodwinked housing investors and veterans came to the Ombudsman’s office. Most of them were provided help or legal advice.
However, Alexander Shishlov noted that the committee of St. Petersburg government dealing with utility services had been persistently neglecting all his letters requesting to explain formation of prices on housing and utilities services in 2012.
Alexander Shishlov stated that the Ombudsman’s Office did not receive a single request on the breach of religious rights in the past year. On the contrary, Alexander Shishlov received complaints from citizens protesting against construction of temples in some districts of the city, such as, for example, Malinovka Park.
The Ombudsman also spoke about the law on rallies, which has been recently adopted by the city parliament.
“The situation with the law on rallies has once again demonstrated that such draft laws affecting human rights and liberties should be adopted only after an expertise, such as an expertise performed by Ombudsman,” Shishlov said.
Alexander Shishlov also remarked that the so-called “homosexual propaganda” law should be changed. In his opinion such law abused human rights.
The Ombudsman recalled that dozens of people had been detained at different street protest actions in 2012; whereas the authorities explained the fact of their detention with the help of this law. “However, the court did not find any violations in their actions,” Shishlov said.
“As no sentences were passed at such a high number of detentions, this demonstrates the quality of the law,” noted Shishlov. He also added that he had received an expertise from the UN High Commissioner on this law.
At the same time the Ombudsman noted positive dynamics in maintenance of law and order during public events in 2012. “The attitude of police to participants of public actions has been improving, and this is a good sign,” added Shishlov. According to Shishlov, this could be largely attributed to the change of heads in St. Petersburg’s interior department. Shishlov also said that he had managed to establish good working contacts with the new heads.
However, the prime concern of the Ombudsman was protection of the right to life. He quoted that in 2012, 251 citizen of St. Petersburg died because of crimes, 445 people died in traffic accidents and 1,648 homeless died in the streets of the city.
“Human life is the key value. If the right to life is abused, it is no use arguing about other rights and freedoms,” said Alexander Shishlov.
The full text of Ombudsman’s report can be found on his official website.
Posted: April 18th, 2013 under Human Rights.