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Joint Statement on the Deteriorating Situation of Human Rights in Russia
March 12, 2021

The United States was pleased to join the 44 co-sponsors of a joint statement led by Poland on the situation of human rights in Russia in the context of the case of Alexei Navalny.

The following is the full version of the statement provided to the Human Rights Council secretariat for the record.  Due to time constraints, a shortened version of this statement was delivered by Ambassador Zbigniew Czech, Permanent Representative of Poland to the United Nations in Geneva, during the Item 4 debate.


Human Rights Council
46th Session 

Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention 

Cross-regional joint statement
March 12, 20221

Madam President,  

I have the honour to the deliver this joint statement on behalf of 44 states.  

We, the signatories to this statement, are concerned by the deteriorating situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Russian Federation, manifested in particular by the unlawful detention, arrest and imprisonment of Mr Alexei Navalny. 

The arrest of Mr Navalny and his subsequent sentencing to a penal colony was based on a previous judgment that the European Court of Human Rights declared arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable. This occurred in the context of an attempt to poison Mr Navalny, which still has not been properly investigated and credibly explained. Moreover, on 16 February 2021 the European Court of Human Rights granted an interim measure with immediate effect, indicating the Government of Russia to release Mr Navalny. The Court had regard to the nature and extent of risk to his life, as seen in the light of the overall circumstances.

These actions by Russian authorities, including the judiciary, are unacceptable and politically motivated. They run counter to Russia’s international human rights obligations, including the right to liberty and security of person and the right to a fair trial, proclaimed in numerous instruments of international human rights law – including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights, to which the Russian Federation is a party.

We are also concerned by the large number of arbitrary arrests of protesters who were expressing their support for Mr Navalny in many Russian cities. The overall developments related to Mr Navalny’s arrest, imprisonment, and oppression of his allies and supporters are tangible proof of shrinking civil society space in the Russian Federation, including for human rights defenders and independent media representatives. We strongly denounce these actions, which use the tools of the state to attack independent media and civil society, and to silence dissenting voices. We express particular concern regarding recent legislative amendments and constitutional changes which further restrict rights and freedoms. 

We call on the Russian Federation for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Navalny and of all those unlawfully or arbitrarily detained, including for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of religion or belief. We urge the Russian authorities to respect their obligations under international human rights law, as members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.  

We will continue to monitor Mr Navalny’s case as well as the human rights situation in the Russian Federation in general.  

The list of the sponsoring states:
2. Australia,
3. Austria,
4. Belgium,
5. Bulgaria,
6. Canada,
7. Croatia,
8. Cyprus,
9. Czech Republic,
10. Denmark,
11. Estonia,
12. Finland,
13. France,
14. Georgia,
15. Germany,
16. Greece,
17. Hungary,
18. Iceland,
19. Ireland,
20. Italy,
21. Japan,
22. Latvia,
23. Liechtenstein,
24. Lithuania,
25. Luxembourg,
26. Malta,
27. Marshall Islands,
28. Monaco,
29. Montenegro,
30. Netherlands,
31. New Zealand,
32. North Macedonia,
33. Norway,
34. Poland,
35. Portugal,
36. Romania,
37. Slovakia,
38. Slovenia,
39. Spain,
40. Sweden
41. Switzerland,
42. Ukraine,
43. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
44. United States,