Human Rights Situation in Russia Worsening with War in Ukraine
September 22, 2023
Cited article by AP News
HRRC condemns the Russian government for the significant decline in protections for human rights over the past two decades, which have only been exacerbated since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. This comes alongside support of further examination into the situation by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The human rights situation in Russia has significantly deteriorated since President Vladimir Putin initiated the war against Ukraine in February 2022, according to a report by Mariana Katzarova, the special rapporteur appointed by the UN's Human Rights Council to assess Russia's rights situation. The report highlights a domestic crackdown primarily aimed at critics of Putin's war and other opposition voices within Russia. It reveals that over 20,000 individuals were detained between February of last year and June 2023 for participating in anti-war protests, with more than 600 criminal lawsuits initiated against those engaged in "anti-war activity." Shockingly, over half of the arrested protesters were women. The report also documents numerous rights violations, including torture, allegations of rape and sexual violence, and threats of sexual abuse by law enforcement officers, with none of these cases being officially investigated. Additionally, the report notes a significant increase in the number of organizations and individuals labeled as "foreign agents" by the Russian Justice Ministry, raising concerns about potential bans.
The report's findings further indicate a marked decline in human rights in Russia over the past two decades, with a substantial deterioration following the invasion of Ukraine. This investigation is significant as it marks the first time that the UN's Human Rights Council has authorized a rights expert to examine human rights issues in one of its permanent Security Council members. Despite the lack of cooperation from Russian authorities, the report was developed through consultations with over 60 Russian and international rights organizations and individuals, as well as nearly 100 written submissions from rights advocates and witnesses of rights violations. The report's release comes amid ongoing claims by the Kremlin that the majority of Russians support the military operation in Ukraine, with a concurrent assertion that dissenting voices are free to express their views within the bounds of existing laws.