Hoppa yfir valmynd

Human Rights; Exchange of views with Ms Mariana Katzarova, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Russia

1484th meeting of the Committee of Ministers

Agenda item 4 – Human Rights; Exchange of views with Ms Mariana Katzarova, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Russia

Statement by NB8

13 December 2023

On behalf of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden we thank special rapporteur Katzarova for her insightful briefing.

We strongly reiterate our support for the mandate of the special rapporteur – and its work is of utmost importance not only to the Russian people but to all Europeans.

The gloomy and significantly deteriorating human rights situation in Russia remains of deep concern to us. The systematic restriction and deprivation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, like those of expression and peaceful assembly, of the Russian people by their own authorities has continued for years.

Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine has amplified internal repression in the country. The government brutally silences political opponents, human rights and democracy defenders, lawyers, journalists, independent media and others who dare to have differing opinions or make anti-war statements. The laws on “foreign agents” or undesirable organizations – and their often-violent enforcement – have resulted in a systematic crackdown on civil society organizations. In addition, Russia must unconditionally and immediately release and rehabilitate the increasing number of political prisoners in the country. 

A recent proof of the Russian course of action is the decision of the Russian Supreme Court to outlaw what it calls the “international LGBT movement” as “extremist” and to ban its activity on the territory of the Russian Federation. We strongly condemn this and urge Russia to stop the unfounded repression, to uphold its international obligations and to respect, protect and fulfil human rights without discrimination of any kind. 

In addition to adversely affecting its own citizens, Russia has instrumentalized third country citizens as a hybrid influencing tool in its very neighborhood causing human suffering. We also condemn recruitment of detained foreign migrants and young men from the occupied regions by Russia for its war in Ukraine. 

The co-operation between the Council of Europe and the UN is valuable for peer learning, especially when it comes to ECtHR findings and the execution of judgments. Your report as well as the UPR review on Russia provide good examples of the deepened co-operation between our organizations, in particular as regards the recommendations on the execution of judgments concerning the Russian Federation. We need to be innovative to hold Russia accountable to its international obligations. 

The Reykjavik Summit Declaration set out that we will find ways to strengthen co-operation with Russian (and Belarussian) human rights defenders, democratic forces, free media and independent civil society. 

In your opinion, Mme Special Rapporteur, is it -and in what ways-  possible to co-operate with Russian civil society and NGOs in the present situation; how can the Council of Europe be best of support and how can the integrity of counterparts be best ensured?  Secondly, since Russia does no longer cooperate with the CoE instruments, how could we better leverage Russian obligations under relevant UN human rights instruments in order to promote the protection of human rights of the Russian citizens?


Contact us

Tip / Query
Please answer in numerics