Human rights in Russia have ‘significantly deteriorated’ since Ukraine war: UN expert

The human rights situation in Russia has significantly deteriorated since it invaded Ukraine in February last year, a United Nations expert said on Monday, describing a “systematic crackdown” on civil society and calling for redress.

The report by Special Rapporteur Mariana Katzarova alleges that Russian authorities have carried out mass arbitrary arrests of critics of the war and says those detained risk death due to the “persistent use of torture and ill-treatment”.

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Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has passed stronger laws to punish dissenters and perceived traitors.

The UN expert Katzarova, a former journalist from Bulgaria who led investigations during the two Chechen wars for Amnesty International, also referred to attempts by Russia to obstruct her mandate, saying such actions showed “a lack of political will to uphold its human rights obligations.”

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Moscow has previously said it would not cooperate with the probe.

A debate on the report’s findings is expected at the HRC’s ongoing session in Geneva on Thursday. European Union countries are set to seek a renewal of Katzarova’s mandate. More than a dozen non-governmental organizations have written to diplomats in Geneva asking them to support the renewal, a letter showed.

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