At UN, Humanists International voices concern over shrinking space for civil society in Russia

  • post Type / Advocacy News
  • Date / 25 March 2024

At the 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Humanists International has spoken out against the oppression of journalists, activists, and dissenters, in Russia, and the tactics of disruption used by Russia at the UN and elsewhere.

The statement, delivered by Humanists International’s Advocacy Officer, Leon Langdon, outlined the ways in which the rights to freedom of assembly, association, and expression are being severely curtailed in Russia. Human rights defenders, political opposition, those critical of the government, and journalists have faced imprisonment. Recently Reporters without Borders highlighted how recent arrests of 20 journalists in February 2024 were an attempt to “intimidate the few press correspondents still present in Moscow.”

The statement also drew attention to the recent death, at the hands of Russian authorities, of opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, who had been imprisoned in a Russian detention center on political charges. It said,

“In memory of his tireless work for democracy, we call for the release of those detained on political grounds. Political dissent is vital in and of itself, as well as protected in international human rights law, and should be respected by the Russian Government.”

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for a credible investigation into his death.

The Humanists International statement called attention to Russia’s impunity and the lack of accountability for its human rights abuses. Russia routinely ignores UN human rights instruments, including the recommendations of the UPR Working Group. It pointed out the ways in which Russia, on top of ignoring the Council, actively seeks to disrupt it. Russian disinformation “at and about the UN” undermines the important work being done to advance human rights all over the world, not just in Russia. It said,

“Disinformation spread by Russia at and about the UN and this Council blunts its important work in pursuit and protection of human rights. Individuals and their rights should not be made the pawns of revisionist powers.”

Featured photo by Nikita Pishchugin on Unsplash.

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