On 7 October, the UN Human Rights Council passed a historic resolution to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation. The move marks the first time the UN body will examine the rights record of one of the so-called P5 members that hold permanent seats on the UN Security Council.
The resolution outlined grave concerns over the marked increase in the mass arbitrary arrest, detention and harassment of Russian civilians, including peaceful protesters, political opponents, civil society representatives, human rights defenders, journalists and minority groups.
Seventeen Council members voted in favour of appointing a special rapporteur. A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) told Global Insight that the resolution sent ‘a strong message from the international community not only to people in the Russian Federation but to those around the world whose human rights have been suppressed and violated.’
Six members – Bolivia, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Kazakhstan and Venezuela – voted against the resolution and 24 states abstained. Among the abstentions were Brazil, India and Mexico, as well as 12 African states. The OHCHR said despite the ‘differing views during the negotiations and voting on the resolution’, that the mandate had been approved by the Council and deserved the ‘full respect and cooperation of all stakeholders.’