Ahead of a debate in the European Parliament on the continuing detention of the 'Arctic 30' group of 28 environmental activists and 2 journalists in Murmansk, Russia, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:
"The continued detention of the 'Arctic 30' on spurious charges is unacceptable. The EU has to do more to ensure the immediate release of those detained. In particular, we call on the EU's foreign policy high representative Catherine Ashton to directly intervene in this matter, which concerns not only the detention of EU citizens but the rights of international organisations to peacefully protest against environmentally-damaging activities.
"The Greenpeace activists were merely trying to unfurl a banner on an offshore rig, drawing attention to the urgent plight of the highly sensitive Arctic region, which is threatened by aggressive moves to exploit the resources there. The Russian authorities have responded to this peaceful protest action by charging the activists with piracy, with a possible 15 year sentence. This trumped-up charge is not only grossly disproportionate, it seeks to undermine the efforts of civil society organisations to play their vital role in drawing attention to activities, which are against the public interest and damage the environment. The EU should defend this crucial role, which Greenpeace and other organisations play. Seeking to protect the Arctic is important for all humanity."