A report by the UN has revealed the disgraceful human rights violations that have been occurring in Russia not just since the start of the war but for over two decades! All is revealed about the mandate in this post.
“Torture and Ill-Treatment” Rife in Russia
Mariana Katzarova, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Russia, raised a red flag, shedding light on a disturbing pattern of civil and political rights suppression within the nation.
Ms. Katzarova, speaking at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, expressed deep concern about widespread arrests and even torture, claiming that “persistent use of torture and ill-treatment” is rife in Russia.
Backing her concerns with concrete evidence, the UN-appointed expert referred to almost 200 credible sources, “The large amount of information shared with me is indicative of the magnitude of the human rights challenges facing Russian society today,” Katzarova revealed.
Ms. Katzarova showed the magnitude of the human rights crisis by claiming that “anyone speaking out against Russia’s war on Ukraine or daring to criticize the government’s actions” will face arrest and even torture.
The Erosion of Fundamental Rights
Arbitrary arrests, detentions, and harassment are also on the rise for those daring to criticize the government or voice opposition against Russia’s actions, particularly concerning the war in Ukraine.
The erosion of fundamental rights within Russia did not begin last year with the invasion of Ukraine; Ms. Katzarova highlighted that this suppression has deep-seated roots spanning over two decades.
An astonishing 20,000 people faced detention between February 2022 and June 2023 for participating in what were mostly peaceful anti-war protests.
Disturbing reports reached Ms. Katzarova, detailing torture and ill-treatment, including sexual violence and rape, perpetrated by law enforcement officials against anti-war protesters.
Propaganda and Inflammatory Rhetoric
The report claimed that Russian authorities utilized propaganda and inflammatory rhetoric to incite hatred and violence against Ukrainians, with over 600 criminal lawsuits targeting perceived “anti-war activity,” although nothing could have prepared Katzarova for what she saw next.
Even children in Russian schools face severe consequences for expressing anti-war sentiments and “even drawing an anti-war picture.”
The situation in Russia represents a grim scenario of a diminishing civic space, where public dissent and independent media are being systematically silenced.
Since the war began, changes in legislation have heavily restricted independent voices, including human rights defenders and media outlets, resulting in a crackdown on civil society organizations.
Ms. Katzarova and several Member States urged Russia to rethink their human rights violations and address the “damage of the past decades.”
A Wake-Up Call
The Russian Government did not accept the report’s mandate and denied the UN expert access to the country, showcasing a reluctance to confront the allegations, to which Ms. Katzarova urged them to “Reconsider their approach.”
For the first time in history, the Human Rights Council authorized a rights expert to investigate human rights violations within the borders of a permanent UN Security Council member.
Special Rapporteurs, operating under the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, work voluntarily to bring attention to global human rights violations.
Multiple Member States joined in calling upon Russia to reconsider its approach to this critical mandate in what has been a wake-up call to the international community.
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