Autonomous non-profit organization
“Center for Animal Welfare Legal Protection”

Petition to High Commissioner for Human Rights UNOG

      The Honorable High Commissioner
      for Human Rights
      8-14 Avenue de la Paix
      1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
      Telephone Number (41-22) 917-9000

August 29, 2003

      Independent non-profit organization
      "The Guardianship Charitable Society of Homeless Animals"
      117485, Russia, Moscow,
      Ulitsa Miklukho-Maklaya, 45, Apt. 71
      Tel.: +7-(095)-3354992

Dear High Commissioner,
Do consider our petition!

      Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, saying that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", is being violated in Russia.
      We hereby state that in Russia, specifically in the City of Moscow, degrading treatment is taking place as the authorities, in defiance of the protests of Muscovites and community, before people's very eyes, have, for several years already, been subjecting pets, namely cats, to hardships and excruciating slow death, although the cats in question dwell in the basements and attics of apartment houses, are under the guardianship of people and are fed by them. As people live side by side with these animals, they increasingly regard them as pets and dear creatures, like children. However, over the last two years, thousands of cats have been walled up alive by the authorities in the basements of residential buildings, or have been locked up in the attics, where the animals die in torments from hunger and thirst. As they do, the authorities do not allow anybody to release the animals, therefore people are forced to watch the sufferings of the dying animals, to hear their screams. Subjected to unbearable emotional stresses caused by the sight of tortures the dear pets go through and realizing they are unable to help the poor creatures, people develop mental disorders, are hit by infarcts and strokes. In most cases, they are elderly unattached people, disabled and nearly always women, to whom taking care of these animals has become the true meaning of their life and, probably, the deliverance. Once the animals die, the people lose the last thing they have in life. Not only do the authorities refuse to legitimize their activity, but in many cases they threaten to take all kinds of measures against the guardians. This insults lofty feelings of these people who look after the miserable cats that dwell not in cozy flats, but in the basements and attics, while such care and guardianship, virtue and charity are denounced. Which means that all moral and ethical values, the entire world community is aspiring to, as well as the fundamental criteria of good and justice that have long been recognized all over the world are flagrantly flouted.
      Such malicious insults of people are common to all districts of Moscow. We have hundreds of addresses and ample evidence of cats' guardians from the buildings in which cats are immured. Acts of disgrace are committed every day. For example, in Podrezkovo Settlement of Khimki District, Moscow Region several cats have, for three weeks, been locked up in the attic of a 9-storied apartment building without food or water before the eyes of minors and adults who used to take care of and feed those animals. The authorities threaten to take reprisals against children who are trying to protect the cats. Sergey Melnichuk, an under age boy, in absolute secret and running the risk of falling down, is trying to throw food for the cats onto the roof. Because the boy feels sorry for the cats, asks the authorities to stop torturing them and wants to save the animals, the authorities threaten him with punishment and imprisonment. Every night, the adults and kids watch the half dead cats creep onto the roof and scream from hunger.
      Our organization has, for the second year, been campaigning to protect homeless cats and their guardians: we have, on more than one occasion, petitioned all existing authorities, but the result is nil, the authorities ignore public appeals to stop malicious insults of humans and animals. The authorities do not admit the sufferings and torments of either animals or humans and are not willing to pass any laws or take action to protect animals and the rights of their guardians.
      In view of the foregoing, may we kindly request you to consider our petition and apply UNO sanctions so as to force the Government of the Russian Federation to pass the laws and introduce mechanisms, prohibiting unwarranted tortures and cruel annihilation of cats dwelling in the attics and basements because these animals, victims of inhuman treatment by the society, are under the guardianship of people and, consequently, such annihilation humiliates the dignity and lofty sentiments of the guardians and constitutes a breach of their rights and vital interests.
      Russia is not a hopeless country yet, as far as the good is concerned. It has forces of good and people whose hearts beat in unison with the world community, striving for the ideals of incorruptible morals, good and justice advanced in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The thousands of guardians of abandoned homeless cats are among them. These people have made assistance to miserable animals the true meaning of their lives. At the moment, these people need your help!
      Please, inform us of your decision on the aforesaid matter at the above address.
      Very faithfully yours,
      Yevgeny Ilyinskii, Director
      "The Guardianship Charitable Society of Homeless Animals"

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