29 January 202016:48

Candidacy of the Russian Federation for election to the United Nations Human Rights Council for 2021-2023

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Candidacy of the Russian Federation for election
to the United Nations Human Rights Council for 2021-2023

(Position Paper)


The promotion and protection of human rights is one of the overarching priorities of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation. Committed to its international human rights obligations, Russia sees its tasks as follows:

  • Ensure respect for human rights and freedoms throughout the world through constructive, equitable international dialogue with due account for national, cultural and historical specificities and values of each State;
  • Counter attempts to use human rights concepts as an instrument of political pressure and interference in the internal affairs of States, including with a view to destabilizing them and changing legitimate governments;
  • Ensure protection of human rights and freedoms under international law and in strict compliance by States with their international human rights obligations;
  • Develop cultural and humanitarian ties between peoples at the inter-State level;
  • Strongly oppose any manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, neo-Nazism, aggressive nationalism, anti-Semitism, religious and ethnic intolerance, attempts to falsify history and use it to fuel confrontation and revanchism in world politics, as well as to revise the results of the Second World War; contribute to the depoliticization of historical discussions;
  • Involve civil society institutions in addressing international issues;
  • Develop international cultural and humanitarian cooperation as a means of establishing intercivilizational dialogue, achieving harmony and ensuring mutual understanding among peoples, paying particular attention to interreligious dialogue;
  • Enhance cooperation with international and non-governmental human rights organizations in order to strengthen universally recognized human rights standards and link them with the responsibility of individuals for their actions, especially in terms of preventing insult to the religious feelings of believers, fostering mutual understanding and respect, strengthening moral principles in the human rights dialogue, and eradicating double standards in this area.

The Russian Federation is convinced that the standards and principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights must be consistently implemented throughout the world. In order to attain this objective, all participants in international relations need to focus their efforts on strengthening dialogue and cooperation and engaging parties concerned in a collective process of elaborating and adopting decisions. The United Nations, particularly the Human Rights Council, should become the driving force of this process.

The Russian Federation views the Human Rights Council as a key body within the United Nations system whose activities are designed to promote constructive inter-State cooperation in the field of human rights and to strengthen the international human rights regime on the basis of justice and equality in accordance with the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter. The Russian Federation is convinced that human rights should be considered as a factor contributing to the rapprochement of various States and groups of States, as well as to the promotion of a climate of trust and mutual respect in international relations.

As a member of the Council (2006-2009, 2009-2012, 2013-2016) and as an observer (2013, 2017 to date), Russia has consistently worked to foster equitable and mutually respectful cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights in accordance with the principles and norms of international law, to eliminate the practice of double standards and to prevent the use of human rights issues as a pretext for interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States.

Russia's decision to present its candidacy for the HRC election for the term 2021–2023 is based on the intent to continue the pursuit of a fair, mutually respectful and equal dialogue on ensuring human rights and fundamental freedoms.

If elected to the Council, Russia will take steps to transform the Council into an efficient and effective tool for promoting and protecting human rights throughout the world, whose work is based on the principles of universality, non-selectivity, objectivity, equal treatment of all categories of human rights and respect for cultural and civilizational diversity.

The Russian Federation was three times successfully reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process within the framework of the UN Human Rights Council, in 2009, 2013 and 2018. Work is currently underway to follow up on the recommendations of the UPR third cycle.

Considerable attention is paid to interaction with the Council's system of Special Procedures. Since 2013, the Russian side has sent over 150 responses to the requests of these monitoring mechanisms. During Russia's HRC membership and while having an observer status, Russia was visited by a number of mandate holders under that system, including Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, and Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. Russia also hosted intersessional meetings of the HRC Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The Russian Federation is a party to seven major international human rights treaties (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and cooperates actively with relevant treaty bodies. Since 2013, Russian national reports have been submitted to the Human Rights Committee (2015), the Committee on the Rights of the Child (2014 and 2018), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (2015), the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2017), the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2017), the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2018) and the Committee against Torture (2018). At the same time, the Russian side regularly responds to requests from treaty bodies received under the so-called individual communications procedure.

The Russian Federation traditionally attaches great importance to establishing constructive cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). As a stable donor to the Office, the Russian Federation makes an annual voluntary contribution of $2 million to its budget, part of which is used, inter alia, to finance the activities of the Council's Special Procedures. As part of the Conceptual Framework for Cooperation between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Russian Federation for 2007 and Beyond, joint projects are being implemented in such areas as the rule of law, promotion of equality and tolerance, development of the education system and human rights awareness.

The Russian Federation actively engages with regional human rights institutions and mechanisms, in particular those within the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

In view of the above, we expect our partners in the UN General Assembly to support the candidacy of the Russian Federation at the elections to the Human Rights Council for the period 2021-2023, which will be held in autumn 2020 during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.

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