July 16, 2024

Joint Statement by the Group of Seven Foreign Ministers (21/1/26)

Joint Statement by the Group of Seven Foreign Ministers (21/1/26)

We, the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, jointly condemn Alexej Nawalni’s arrest and imprisonment for political motives.

We are also extremely concerned about the arrest of thousands of peaceful protesters and journalists, and we call on Russia to respect its national and international obligations and release those who were arbitrarily arrested on 23 January as part of peacefully exercising their right to freedom of assembly. The violent suppression of everyone’s right to express their views by the police forces is unacceptable. These events testify once again to the negative trend towards narrower spheres of opposition activity, civil society, human rights defenders and independent voices in Russia.

It is regrettable that Alexei Navalny is being held because of court decisions that were described by the European Court of Human Rights in 2017 as clearly arbitrary and unfair. We, the G7 foreign ministers, call on the Russian authorities to release Alexei Navalny immediately and without preconditions. Russia is bound by its national and international obligations to respect and guarantee human rights.

The G7 foreign ministers strongly condemn the poisoning of Alexei Navalny with a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group developed by Russia in August 2020.

We reaffirm that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and violates international standards against the use of these weapons. We, the G7 foreign ministers, urge the Russian authorities once again to investigate and explain reliably the use of chemical weapons on their territory in light of Russia’s obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

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The confirmed use of chemical weapons against an opposition politician, as well as the recent arrest of Alexei Navalny, undermine democracy, independent voices, and political pluralism in Russia. We urge Russia to fulfill its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to guarantee the rights enshrined therein, including the right to freedom of expression, for all citizens on its territory and under its sovereignty.

We will continue to monitor Russia’s response to international calls for the immediate release of Alexei Navalny and all arbitrarily detained protesters and journalists, as well as the criminal investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. We remain firmly committed to the Chemical Weapons Convention, our support for democracy, rule of law and human rights in Russia, and our growing support for Russian civil society.