The United States joined the following statement read by the European Union at the Human Rights Council.
United Nations Human Rights Council – 50th session
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression
24 June 2022
Joint Statement on the Situation of Human Rights in Russia
As Delivered by Lotte Knudsen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva
The EU has the honour to deliver this joint statement on behalf of the group of countries.
We are deeply concerned about the substantial deterioration of the situation of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the Russian Federation and we echo the worries expressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in her annual update.
Over recent years, we have seen significant crackdowns and broad restrictions by Russian authorities of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association, freedom of peaceful assembly, as well as freedom of religion or belief. The shrinking civic space has prevented and discouraged Russians from actively participating in public life. Recently, especially since the Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, repressions and attacks against dissenting Russian civil society representatives and organisations, human rights defenders, members of the political opposition and critical voices, independent media and journalists, researchers, and other individuals exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms have significantly increased. The increasing repression is a significant enabling factor of Russia’s aggression abroad.
We condemn the forcible dispersal of peaceful protests and mass arbitrary arrests and detentions of protestors, such as those speaking out against Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. We condemn censorship and the forced closure of independent media, advocacy groups and civil society organisations, such as internationally well-known and respected International Memorial and the Human Rights Center “Memorial”. We deplore the disinformation campaign fabricated and fuelled by the Russian authorities concerning their war of aggression against Ukraine and the consequences thereof. We are seriously concerned about increasingly repressive legislation, including laws targeting so-called “foreign agents” and “undesirable organisations”. We continue to call on Russian authorities to cease their brutal crackdown against members of the political opposition and their supporters and anti-corruption activists, exemplified by the ongoing mistreatment and politically motivated imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, the ongoing politically motivated trial against Andrei Pivovarov under the law on “undesirable organisations”, and the ongoing prosecution of opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza and many others who are now charged for allegedly spreading false information under Russia’s new repressive laws.
Furthermore, we denounce the ongoing serious violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, and attacks on media and human rights defenders, in an environment of impunity.
We also deplore the discriminatory laws and policies against LGBTI persons as well as persons belonging to religious minorities, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, in Russia.
People in Russia, as individuals in any country, deserve their human rights and fundamental freedoms to be respected, protected and fulfilled and to benefit from this Council’s attention, including through increased scrutiny.
We call on the Russian Federation to abide by its international obligations and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone in Russia. We also call on Russia to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms, such as the OHCHR and the Special Procedures of this Council.
We encourage the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report to the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Russia.
We stand in full solidarity with the people in Russia and encourage everyone to stand up for all those who continue to strive for their human rights and fundamental freedoms as the foundation for their future, often at great personal risk.
Co-signatories (June 24):
- Czech republic
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- United States of America