Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UN HRC54 – UK Statement on Russia [September 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 22 September 2023.

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Russian Federation. As delivered by the UK’s Ambassador to the WTO and the UN, Simon Manley.

Thank you Vice President,

Special Rapporteur,

Your report visibly demonstrates the rapid increase in repression since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Repression at home, aggression abroad.

Recent legislation adopted with little public scrutiny has further restricted the fundamental rights that Russians should enjoy under international law.

Criminal sentences have become harsher and longer. Judges are subject to political influence. Anti-war speech is criminalised.

More than half of those arrested for anti-war activism are women, and you noted, determined to advocate for peace in the face of gender-based violence and increased restrictions on their roles in public life.

A prohibitively hostile legal framework makes it almost impossible for non-government controlled media to operate, undermining an essential condition for free and fair elections.

We once again condemn the politically motivated prosecution of so many who oppose Russia’s illegal invasion, including Vladimir Kara-Murza, Alexei Navalny, Ilya Yashin and Maria Ponomarenko. And we will continue to hold those responsible for human rights violations to account through our sanctions.

Special Rapporteur, given the Russian Government’s failure to engage with your mandate, how can this Council promote the upholding of Russians’ fundamental rights, particularly freedom of expression?