HRC48: Item 5
24 September 2021
Human Rights House Foundation makes this joint statement on behalf of ourselves, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Federation for Human Rights.
In today’s Russia, one can be held for months in pre-trial detention simply for providing space in a café for a public event, spend two years under house arrest for participating in a public debate and reposting information about peaceful protests, or be taken off a plane, charged and jailed — simply for being associated with groups deemed “undesirable” or “extremist” by the authorities.
Russian authorities have used the laws on “foreign agents” and “undesirable organizations” and anti-extremism legislation to demonize and stifle independent groups and media, and to punish and intimidate dissenting and independent voices. Russian authorities have put additional legislation and policies in place to make it easier to arbitrarily prosecute virtually any group, activist, media organisation, or blogger.
We also note the continued imprisonment of political opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the crackdown against his supporters, and the broader political opposition in Russia. Thousands of Navalny’s supporters and other demonstrators were detained during the wave of protests that followed his arrest, and scores continue to face harassment, intimidation and detention.
Special Procedures and the High Commissioner have repeatedly expressed their dismay at the measures taken to silence and intimidate people in Russia. It is time that members of this Council press the Russian authorities to reverse the course of the unprecedented human rights crackdown, and take steps to bring Russia more formally onto the Council’s agenda.