The UN should scrutinise Russia for committing human rights violations against its citizens

News 22.03.2022

The United Nations should monitor human rights violations by Russia and suspend the country’s membership on the UN Human Rights Council, Right Livelihood said in a statement on Tuesday, noting the Russian government’s increasing repression against its own people and abroad.

Read our entire statement here.

Addressing the 49th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, we drew attention to “unprecedented restrictions imposed on civic space” in Russia.

The systematic repression of civil society activism intensified in 2021. In December, authorities decided to shut down Russia’s largest human rights organisation Memorial International and its member organisation Memorial Human Rights Center. Memorial, which has documented Soviet-era repression and monitored human rights in modern-day Russia, has been a backbone of civil society.

“Civil society organisations such as Memorial play a fundamental role in monitoring human rights abuses, while the Russian Federation is engaging in unparalleled repression of any dissenting voices in the country,” our statement said.

Since Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, more than 15,000 people have been detained for protesting against the war, according to the independent human rights monitoring project OVD-Info.

“Once civil society will be wiped out and Russia isolated from the rest of the world, who will protect Russians’ rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association?” our statement asked.

We called on Russia to reverse its court decisions ordering the closure of Memorial International and Memorial Human Rights Center. We also urged the Human Rights Council to increase scrutiny of Russia’s human rights violations by mandating a special rapporteur to monitor the situation in the country.

Finally, we also urged the suspension of Russia’s membership of the Human Rights Council – given the country’s blatant disregard for human rights inside and outside its territory.

Earlier in March, Right Livelihood organised a side event to discuss the Russian government’s repression of civil society, in particular through the country’s so-called “Foreign Agents Law.”

During the event, Right Livelihood Laureate Vladimir Slivyak noted the connection between the silencing of civil society and the ongoing war on Ukraine.

“The whole campaign against civil society was actually started in a way to prepare for war and to silence those people who can organise others, who can be voices that can attract other people to go and protest,” Slivyak said. “This is why the Russian government decided to actually get rid of civil society.”

Read more comments and analysis by Right Livelihood Laureates on the war on Ukraine!

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