Advocacy statements

Human Rights Situation in Russia

  • Date / 2023
  • Location / Russia
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention


Humanists International

54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (11 September to 13 October 2023)

Interactive Dialogue: Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation


We thank the Special Rapporteur for her important report. As she observed, the human rights situation in the Russian Federation has significantly deteriorated.

Many of the violations are with the view to ensuring those criticizing the government and its war are silenced; their rights to free expression, assembly and association are denied by a range of laws, including those characterizing them as “foreign agents,” “terrorists” or “extremists,” or “spreading fake news,” “discrediting the army” or denying “historic truth.”

Critics, including journalists, politicians, human rights defenders, bloggers, writers, and artists have been harassed, criminalized, and imprisoned.[1] Access to independent media platforms is obstructed and opposition parties have been suppressed.[2] Tens of thousands of anti-war protesters have been detained and hundreds have faced criminal charges for expressing anti-war opinions.

Within this context of oppression, citizens are now also policing one another – triggering investigations, criminal charges, prosecutions, and dismissals from work.[3] This wave of denunciations is one of the signs of totalitarianism, and echoes of the darkest days of the Soviet Union.

The government’s strategy of pushing its war regime ideology through silencing critics and fostering an atmosphere of fear and disinformation, has extended to even more sinister levels with its mass abduction of children from Ukraine to Russia (and occupied areas) and indoctrinating them with pro-Russia patriotic and military-related education.[4]  Described by some as constituting genocide,[5] reports indicate that Russian indoctrination efforts are systematic and extensive.[6]

We put on record our support for the mandate, which is essential to help ensure a line of communication for Russian activists and civil society as they face oppression from an increasingly totalitarian State.


[1] https://memopzk.org/list-persecuted/spisok-politzaklyuchyonnyh-bez-presleduemyh-za-religiyu/; https://rsf.org/en/country/russiahttps://www.hrw.org/world-report/2023/country-chapters/russian-federation; https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2022/07/20/russia-declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-10th-anniversary-of-the-introduction-of-the-law-on-foreign-agents/

[2] https://rm.coe.int/prems-019323-gbr-2519-annual-report-by-the-partner-organisations-to-th/1680aa743d; https://roskomsvoboda.org/uploads/documents/statement_of_roskomsvoboda_team.pdf; https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/europe-and-central-asia/russia/report-russia/; https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/01/13/russia-repression-escalates

[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/27/russia-denunciations-arrests-informants-war/, https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/06/30/russians-urged-to-snitch-on-ukraine-war-critics-in-return-to-soviet-style-denunciations-a78024, https://www.newsweek.com/soviet-era-snitching-returns-russia-328036

[4] https://www.icc-cpi.int/news/situation-ukraine-icc-judges-issue-arrest-warrants-against-vladimir-vladimirovich-putin-and

[5] https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/the-forcible-transfer-and-russification-of-ukrainian-children-shows-evidence-of-genocide-says-pace#:~:text=The%20Parliamentary%20Assembly%20of%20the,this%20practice%20matches%20with%20the

[6] https://hub.conflictobservatory.org/portal/apps/sites/#/home/pages/children-camps-1

Suggested academic reference

'Human Rights Situation in Russia', Humanists International

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