The Russian Federation (Russia) is a Member State of the Council of Europe (COE) and of the United Nations (UN), and has human rights obligations at the regional and universal levels.
Regional: European System
As a Member of the COE, Russia has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Russia has ratified the Revised European Social Charter, but has not authorized the European Committee of Social Rights to decide collective complaints against it. Its human rights policies and practices are also monitored by the COE Commissioner for Human Rights, who identifies gaps in human rights protection, conducts country visits, engages in dialogue with States, and prepares thematic reports and advice.
Individuals and groups have submitted complaints of human rights violations committed by Russia to the European Court of Human Rights. For example, the Court found that Russia failed in its obligation to prevent inhuman or degrading treatment and violated the right to non-discrimination when authorities did not investigate a woman’s allegations of domestic violence, and based on the State’s general failure to address domestic violence. See ECtHR, Volodina v. Russia, no. 41261/17, ECHR 2019, Judgment of 9 July 2019. Additionally, the Court may grant interim measures to protect people in urgent situations of risk in Russia.
As a State party to the Revised European Social Charter, Russia must submit yearly reports to the European Committee of Social Rights on its implementation of the Charter’s provisions.
Russia is a party to the following regional human rights treaties:
- European Convention on Human Rights and several of its protocols
- Revised European Social Charter
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
United Nations System
As a UN Member State, Russia is subject to the oversight of various UN human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review and thematic special procedures. As a party to specific universal human rights treaties, Russia’s policies and practices are monitored by UN treaty bodies. It has accepted the complaints procedure of four treaty bodies.
Russia has ratified the following UN human rights treaties:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
Russia has not ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aimed at abolishing the death penalty. Russia has ratified the optional protocols to the CRC addressing children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Russia has a duty to submit State reports to the UN treaty body associated with each UN human rights treaty Russia has ratified. These reports must be submitted on a periodic basis and describe the steps taken to implement the treaty provisions.
ussia has also ratified optional protocols and made appropriate declarations allowing individuals to submit complaints against the State alleging violations of the ICCPR, CEDAW, CAT, and CERD. Additionally, certain UN treaties contain inquiry procedures, which allow the UN treaty body to consider allegations of grave or systematic human rights violations. Russia has accepted the inquiry procedures of the CAT and CEDAW.
Russia has not extended a standing invitation to UN special procedures, which means that any such mandate holders must seek specific invitations from Russia to conduct a visit within the State. For example, the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous peoples went on a mission to Russia in 2009 and published a visit report in 2010.
For more information on Russia’s engagement with UN human rights bodies, visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/RUIndex.aspx.
Last updated: February 2020