The children are left alone on the street and not allowed to say goodbye to their apprehended parents. The UN asks Russia to adopt legislation to protect minors during the law enforcement operations


27 February 2024


For the first time, the Crew Against Torture provided the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child with its statistics on the torture of minors in Russia. The human rights defenders studied more than a hundred cases in which children became unwilling participants in the actions of law enforcement agents, and came to the conclusion that the State’s representatives behaved incorrectly or even cruelly towards them. Only in two cases out of 105 did the agents offer the guardian to leave the search site with the child or explain what was happening, and allow them to say goodbye during the arrest. Besides, children are often taken to the police station together with their parents, and in 11 cases the minors were left on the street alone. For instance, in 2009, police officers arrested the mother of a 9-year-old girl on the street for being inebriated; it later turned out that she was sober. However, her daughter was left in an unfamiliar part of the city in the late evening.

The member of the Crew, Olga Sadovskaya, underlines the following: «During police operations, approximately 25% of children suffered physical or mental injuries. We believe that the real percentage is much higher, but we can speak with confidence about the presence of trauma only in those cases where the minors were examined by the relevant specialists

It should be noted that the problem of child ill-treatment during law enforcement operations in Russia has already reached the international level. In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights found that the brutal arrest of the father in front of his 9-year-old girl in the Krasnodar region constituted an inhuman treatment towards her, and that the perpetrators were not punished. Later, in 2022, a similar conclusion was reached by the Court in the judgment «Dokukiny v. Russia», where a 4-year-old girl received bruises during her father’s arrest. The ECHR has stated that Russian laws do not protect children during police operations. Since then, Russia has done nothing to resolve the problem.

In their report, the human rights activists asked the UN Committee to recommend that Russia should adopt legislation to protect children during police operations. In particular, the State must collect data on the number of children who have suffered ill-treatment at the hands of law enforcement officers, punish those responsible and review legislation to ensure the safety of minors during police operations, including arrests of family members and searches. The Committee accepted these recommendations and requested the Russian authorities to report on their implementation in the next reporting period.

«In his opening speech, the head of the Russian delegation claimed that the interests and safety of the child are of the highest value in Russia. Protection from torture and inhuman treatment are the cornerstones of security, which is why it is so important to monitor what the authorities’ reaction to these recommendations of the Committee will beconcluded Ms. Sadovskaya.

This is the first time that the human rights defenders working on torture cases have collaborated with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the first time that the Committee has adopted recommendations of such nature. Next, Russia decides whether to accept or not each of the recommendations of the Committee, and if accepted, whether to implement it or not.

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