Human Rights House Foundation statement

HRC55 – Item 6 – UPR adoption – Russia

25 March 2024

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Thank you, Vice-President.

Russian civil society faces unprecedented challenges, which the UPR process seems ill-equipped in addressing.

The death of Alexei Navalny in prison has once again cast an international spotlight on the situation of the hundreds of political prisoners in Russia. We call for an independent international investigation into his death, and the release of all other political prisoners, including Oleg Orlov and Vladimir Kara-Murza.

The broad application of laws related to “extremism,” “foreign agents,” and “undesirable organisations” suppress dissenting voices and curtail the activities of all independent media in Russia. 

Noteworthy organisations such as Memorial and the Moscow Helsinki Group have been liquidated. Russian authorities have added hundreds of entities to their so-called undesirable and foreign agents lists in just the past year. Such repressive actions are designed to isolate Russian civil society from its international counterparts.

We observe with deep concern the escalation of restrictions on freedom of expression in Russia, particularly targeting independent media, journalists, and online platforms.

The violent attack on journalist Yelena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov in 2023 exemplifies the terrible dangers faced by independent journalists and lawyers alike.

The right to peaceful assembly has been severely compromised, with the refusal to authorise public events, the documented use of excessive force, and the detentions of thousands of protestors following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russia must revise or repeal restrictive laws, ensuring that freedoms of expression, assembly and association are upheld in accordance with its UPR commitments and international human rights obligations, and that journalists and human rights defenders can operate freely, safe from threats and violence.

Thank you.