Since the invasion of Ukraine, the human rights situation in Russia has increasingly deteriorated. Opponents of the war face long prison sentences. A UN expert reports thousands of arrests.
According to a UN expert, more than 20,000 people have been arrested in Russia for taking part in peaceful demonstrations since the invasion of neighboring Ukraine. There have been more than 600 indictments for “anti-war activities”, reported Bulgarian Mariana Katzarova during the debate on the situation in Russia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
She recalled Oleg Orlov from the human rights organization Memorial, who is among the defendants. Memorial received the Nobel Peace Prize a year ago. Orlov faces 15 years in prison.
The Council appointed Katzarova as special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Russia in 2022. Russia does not recognize their mandate. She was not allowed to travel into the country. The Russian government also waived the right to comment on Katzarova’s report at the Human Rights Council on Thursday.
German Ambassador Katharina Stasch criticized Russia’s boycott. She was referring to Moscow’s bid for a place on the UN Human Rights Council, which it was forced to leave under pressure last year. The situation in the country has worsened since the invasion. “Honestly, Russia is not yet suitable to serve on this council,” she said. China and Zimbabwe, however, criticized the council. A mandate against a country’s wishes does not work. China called this interference in the internal affairs of a state. Human rights should not be exploited.
Human rights have been increasingly restricted in Russia for years, Katzarova wrote in her report presented at the beginning of the week. Moscow has intensified its activities in this direction since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
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