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HRC49: Hold Russia accountable for gross human rights violations

The UN Human Rights Council should act urgently to mandate mechanisms to monitor, report on, and promote accountability for Russia's gross human rights violations.

UPDATE [4 March]! In a landmark decision, the UN Human Rights Council has voted overwhelmingly to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate and promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses associated with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

The mandate of the Commission extends to considering the facts, circumstances and root causes of violations, which may enable it to also consider the repressive human rights situation in Russia itself.

Russia and Eritrea were the only States of the Human Rights Council’s 47 Member States to oppose the resolution, which enjoyed overwhelming support from States from all world regions.

ISHR condemns and deplores Russia’s unprovoked and illegal war of aggression in Ukraine.

This war has and will result in massive human rights violations. 

ISHR supports the call for an Urgent Debate on the situation at the earliest possible moment at the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which starts in Geneva on 28 February 2022.

That debate should unequivocally condemn Russia’s violations of international law, including international criminal law, international human rights law and the UN Charter. 

The debate should lead to the adoption of a resolution which, at a minimum:

  1. mandates a mechanism, such as a Commission of Inquiry, to monitor and report on the situation in Ukraine and to promote accountability for violations (including as to the crime of aggression, atrocity crimes and other human rights violations);
  2. mandates a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Russia itself. There is a clear link, on the one hand, between the domestic repression of civil society, attacks on journalists, the lack of free and independent press, severe restrictions of freedom of expression and the propagation of disinformation, and, on the other hand, Putin’s ability to wage a war of aggression with extremely limited checks, balances or accountability;
  3. calls on the General Assembly to suspend Russia’s HRC membership as a result of both its gross and systematic violations and its manifest breach of the UN Charter and non-cooperation with UN mechanisms. 

We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and all those who defend human rights. 

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