Human rights defenders applied to the UN Human Rights Council  


24 May 2022

We, — the Russian civil organizations and human rights defenders who signed in a private capacity, are calling on the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a special rapporteur regarding the situation on human rights in the Russian Federation, addressing this matter promptly.   

Today we are deeply concerned at the catastrophic conditions in which civil society in Russia finds itself, and with the destruction of fundamental rights and freedoms in the country.  In the last ten years, the environment surrounding civil society and human rights defenders has become fundamentally more aggressive, and the possibilities of protecting human rights in the country significantly narrower.  To some extent, evidence for this can be found in the regular reports of the UN treaty bodies, mandatories of the UN special procedures, Russian and international civil organizations.   But the situation sharply changed after February 24, 2022: the remaining fundamental freedoms have now been eliminated — freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and association. 

Growing political repressions in Russia, together with the country’s departure from the Council of Europe and resulting diplomatic isolation, threaten the interaction between Russian civil society and the international community, aimed at the protection of human rights. Under current conditions, the appointed Special Rapporteur on Russia will be de-facto the main focal point in the UN human rights infrastructure for Russian human rights defenders and organizations. This comes at the exact time when such a role is of crucial importance and will demonstrate the stance of the UN Human Rights Council that human rights violations cannot be accepted. It will also prove its readiness to take real steps in ensuring the conditions stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the agreements ratified by Russia. This stance would provide one more independent voice protecting those prosecuted for human rights activities.

The Council of Russian Human Rights Defenders

Galina Arapova*
Svetlana Astrakhantseva 
Valery Borschev
Svetlana Gannushkina
Sergey Davidis
Yury Dzhibladze 
Sergey Lukashevsky  
Karinna Moskalenko
Oleg Orlov   
Lev Ponomarev*
Olga Sadovskaya
Natalya Taubina
Aleksandr Cherkasov
Elena Shakhova  

The appeal is supported by:

The Committee Against Torture
Moscow Helsinki Group  
“Public Verdict” Foundation**
St.Petersburg Human Rights Center
The Sakharov Center**
“Sova” Information and Analytical Center**
Program on support of environmental activists of the Russian Social and Ecological Union  
Environmental-crisis team
Olga Alekseeva, human rights activist
Vladimir Vasilenko, human rights activist
Natalya Evdokimova, human rights activist
Larisa Zakharova, human rights activist
Leonid Krikun, lawyer
Lev Levinson, human rights activist
Oksana Paramonova, human rights activist
Irena Podolskaya, human rights activist
Ella Polyakova, human rights activist
Aleksey Sokolov, human rights activist
Andrey Suslov, human rights activist
Valentina Cherevatenko, human rights activist
Liliya Shibanova, human rights activist

* added by the Ministry of Justice of the RF to the register of the mass media natural persons – foreign agents.
** added by the Ministry of Justice of the RF to the register of the NGOs – foreign agents.

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