54th Human Rights Council Reports

Special Rapporteur on the Russian Federation

Report on the Human Rights Council 54th Session

11 September 2023 – 13 October 2023

Meeting Date: 21-22 September 2023


Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Russian Federation

Report from the SR:

The Special Rapporteur made sure to inform the Council of the obstacles to the fulfillment of her mandate, mainly in regard to the lack of participation or approval from the Russian Federation. She made sure to indicate that her evidence was provided by those who had or do live within the internationally recognized borders of the Russian Federation. Her report:

  • Focused on the need to establish policies and protocols moving forward that focus on peacebuilding,

  • Elaborated on the need for collaboration from member states in order to ensure fair and best practice,

  • Regretted that the mandate had been denied access to Russian Federation for reporting,

  • Mentioned the increase of arbitrary arrests, false persecutions, and the use of torture by Russian state security,

  • Outlined the mass of rights violations and current trends towards future violations of the following rights;

    • Freedom of expression and the Press,

    • Rights of Women,

    • Detainment,

    • Freedom of movement, and

    • Conscientious objection to military enlistment,

  • Addressed the growth of mass criminalization and spread of mass misinformation,

  • Raised concerns regarding the shutdown of civil society within the borders of the Russian Federation,

  • Provided information on newly introduced domestic legislation that enhances the stigmatization of labeled 'foreign agents/undesirables',

  • Highlighted the incitement of hate-speech against Ukraine and its citizens in educational capacities,

  • Underlined the necessity of domestic reforms in order to address damage and hold state authorities accountable for continued damage to the civil society sphere,

  • Stressed the destructive qualities of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation on the fabric of civil society,

  • Called for the implementation of protective international policies with regards to migrants, asylum seekers, and displaced persons, and

  • Appealed for unhindered access to the Russian Federation in order to achieve beneficial results for all involved with regards to the mandate.

Russia, as the country of concern, was given the opportunity to respond. As the Russian Federation does not legally recognize the mandate, they declined to give a response.

Country Alignments:

  • Countries aligned with the SR are as follows;

  • Finland, European Union (Joint Statement), Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Portugal, Czechia, Germany, Japan, Austria, United States of America, Croatia, Lithuania, France, Malta, Belgium, Poland, Ireland, New Zealand, Georgia, Canada, Cyprus, Romania, Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Albania, Monte Negro, Ukraine, Greece, Slovakia, Moldova, Italy, and Netherlands and they all:

    • Urged for the continuation of the mandate,

    • Accused the Russian Federation of failing to meet international human rights obligations,

    • Deplored the Russian Federations withdrawal from protective conventions, and

    • Underlined the threat posed by internal repression becoming external aggression.

  • Countries aligned with the Russian Federation are as follows;

  • China, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Belarus, Mali, Iran, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Korea, Sudan, Syria, Nicaragua, and Cuba, and they all:

    • Rejected the mandate on the grounds that it was not recognized by the accused country and as such has no consent to operate,

    • Recommended steps towards cooperative dialogues that are not politicized by the Council and are not led by member states who rely on hegemony for power, and

    • Emphasize that all accusations are leveled against the internal affairs of the Russian Federation and as such have no place on the international agenda.

NGOs were given adequate time to express any and all concerns. Many of the NGOs aligned themselves with the SR, and in doing so they:

  • Called for an extension on the mandate,

  • Emphasized a need for collaboration, communication, and commitment from all actors involved,

  • Warned about the dangers of digitalization of domestic monitoring mechanisms within the Russian Federation, specifically with regard to military enlistment,

  • Were alarmed at the level of media manipulation regarding 'foreign agents/undesirables' within the public sphere,

  • Condemned the Russian Federation for attacking health care professionals and infrastructure, especially with the development of 'passportization*' requirements, and

  • Reminded member states of the threats posed to indigenous peoples and their cultures due to the increase of conscription requirements.

*Passportization is a new term describing the process by which Ukrainian citizens are required to have a Russian Federation passport in order to receive health care within conflict occupied territories.

Our Analysis:

The current human rights situation within the Russian Federation appears to outside observers to be deteriorating. There is a growing need for more effective monitoring mechanisms in order to support future peacebuilding operations. The suggestion that the current mandate is more of a manipulation of western ideals rather than an actual mechanism was made and indications that cultural diversity were being ignored or overlooked accompanied it. The policies adopted by the Russian Federation also suggest a fall-out of respect for cultural diversity within their borders with regards to indigenous populations. While the mandate itself is a peacebuilding mechanism its perception as a non-credible source only hinders its acceptance and progression forward is significantly affected.

Author: Eileen Vis

Uploaded: October 19th 2023


Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace