Target: UK Prime Minister David Cameron
Goal: Provide visa to at-risk Russian journalist seeking asylum in Great Britain
For the second time, the United Kingdom has refused to grant a visa to a Russian journalist (anonymous due to security concerns) whose coworkers have been persecuted and killed. This reflects a consistent disregard for freedom of speech and the press in Russia.
The reporters in question worked for Novaya Gazeta, one of the last private-sector newspapers in all of Russia. Since the newspaper began in 1993, 5 journalists working for the publication have been killed.
A free speech organization called ARTICLE 19 has been sheltering the journalist in London since August 2013 after receiving information that the journalist was in danger. On 12 December 2013, the second visa application for emergency protection was refused by the UK embassy in Moscow.
As a member of the European Union, the UK is accountable to the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. This report includes journalists in the definition of ‘Human Rights Defender. In refusing to provide emergency visas, the government of the UK is failing to provide “rapid assistance and protection to human rights defenders in danger in non-EU countries.” Though Russia’s practices must be condemned, the international community also has a duty to provide support to at-risk human rights defenders.
As a report published by ARTICLE 19 claims, the failure of the UK to protect journalists creates a “climate of impunity” which allows Russia’s government to continue violating free speech and other human rights. In addition, this climate encourages self-censorship by journalists who are concerned about their own well-being.
Sign this petition to urge Prime Minister David Cameron to provide asylum for this journalist and all human rights defenders who are persecuted in the future.
Dear United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron,
The Embassy of the United Kingdom in Moscow has twice denied an emergency protection visa to a Russian journalist in danger. She is a reporter for Novaya Gazeta, one of few remaining independent newspapers in Russia. 5 journalists working for Novaya Gazeta have been killed since the publication began in 1993. There is no doubt that the journalist-in-question, and free speech, is in danger in Russia.
The European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders demands the UK take action to protect journalists as human rights defenders. I urge you to contact the UK Embassy in Moscow and ARTICLE 19, the free speech organization sheltering the journalist, and directly ask that the Novaya Gazeta journalist be granted a visa.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Beatrice Murch via Flickr