The UN Committee called on Russia to stop the persecution of activists and human rights advocates, to fight racism, and investigate the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) reports that the UN Human Rights Committee expressed its concern on a wide range of arbitrary restrictions on political and civil rights in Russia in its concluding observations adopted at its 113th session. Addressing the so-called law on “foreign agents”, the Committee notes its adverse impact on the freedom of expression, assembly and association and expresses its concern on the new draft law on “undesirable” foreign organisations, which will further hinder human rights organisations’ activities.
The Committee considers that the new legal framework adopted in Russia encourages discrimination, hate speech and violence against LGBTI community members. The Committee also stresses the necessity for Russia to strengthen its effort in combating all acts of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, including in political discourse and in the mass media.
The Committee called on Russia to put an end to impunity noting a number of crimes against lawyers, journalists, human rights defenders and opposition politicians that have not yet been investigated, including the murder of the human rights advocate Natalia Estemirova. The Committee also urged the authorities to pursue an impartial investigation of the death of the opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. The Committee concluded that Russia should provide effective protection to lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders who are under threat for merely carrying out human rights activities, as FIDH and ADC memorial have repeatedly alerted.
The Committee further notes the responsibility of Russia in violations committed in the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic,’ ‘Luhansk People’s Republic, considering that Russia "exercises influence over these groups and authorities which amounts to effective control over their activities".
FIDH and the Anti-Discrimination Centre (ADC) Memorial welcome the recommendations of the Committee and join it in its call to cease the ongoing harassment and repression against activists and human rights organisations in Russia and to respect the international obligations as stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to implement the Committee’s recommendations.
Earlier, on March 17th, during a meeting in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Committee asked Russia a series of questions about human rights violations in the annexed Crimea, particularly in regard to the detention of protesters, the discrimination of Crimean Tatars, harassment of the media, and violence by “Crimean Self-Defense.”