Comment by the Information and Press Department on consideration of Russia’s third report under the Universal Periodic Review procedure
Russia’s third national report on our country’s compliance with its international commitments in the human rights sphere was considered at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in Geneva on May 14.
The interdepartmental delegation led by Acting Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov included senior officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the Ministry of Transport, the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Healthcare, the Federal Penitentiary Service, the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs, the Investigative Committee, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, as well as a Civic Chamber representative.
The Russian delegation informed the international community in detail about new steps and additional measures in the sphere of promoting and protecting human rights carried out by the federal and regional authorities. Particular emphasis was placed on efforts to support socially vulnerable groups and to create the proper environment for their participation in all aspects of social life. The Russian authorities’ efforts in this area were praised by the delegations.
Many countries welcomed Russia’s experience in combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance and preventing these scourges, including during international sports competitions, such as the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Significant progress was noted in ensuring individual economic, social and cultural rights, strengthening cooperation with international monitoring bodies in the sphere of human rights, expanding international commitments, strengthening legislative and law enforcement practices, making efforts to promote tolerance and interreligious dialogue, and cultivating a culture of peace.
Unfortunately, several delegations, including the United States, Great Britain, Ukraine, Georgia, Canada, Australia and the Baltic states, offered a series of politicised statements and recommendations, as well as groundless accusations and biased assessments. Some of these countries tried to hold Russia accountable for the events unfolding in neighbouring states, such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia and southeastern Ukraine, as well as to use the UPR to make statements regarding possession of certain territories. We consider such actions as incompatible not only with the core of the UPR, but with the UN Charter as well. However, this did not affect the constructive and businesslike atmosphere of the dialogue with the Russian delegation.
The final report on Russia’s completion of the UPR procedure will be approved at the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018. During this session, the Russian delegation is expected to express its position on the recommendations received from UN member states.
We intend to continue to pursue a consistent policy rooted in the belief that it is unacceptable to politicise human rights issues or use them as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states, and to advance the argument that activities in the human rights sphere should be based exclusively on equal cooperation and mutually respectful dialogue. The Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council is a fairly effective mechanism for such cooperation, and the consideration of the Russian report was an important additional confirmation of that.