The conflict in Ukraine cannot be attributed to the actions of all Russians, according to a human rights expert.
During a recent interview with UN News, she highlighted the importance of her report and its objective, which aims to hold one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council accountable.
“It is unprecedented that one of the ‘P5’ permanent members of the Security Council is being monitored by another major UN body, the Human Rights Council. This comes after the creation of the mandate for the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights just the previous year,” she stated.
The destruction of civil society was total.
The report provides an in-depth account of the decline of human rights in Russia that began two decades ago. It sheds light on the country’s mistreatment of anti-war protesters, abuse of arrested activists and government critics, and the harassment of lawyers who represent these marginalized groups.
According to Ms. Katzarova, the state of human rights has worsened gradually in the past two decades due to the Chechen wars, and has significantly deteriorated since the large-scale military attack on Ukraine in February of last year.
She informed UN News that the primary and unfortunate discovery is the total destruction of civic space in the Russian Federation.
Refusal to cooperate
The Russian Government has limited Ms. Katzarova’s entry into the country, but she continues to gather data from nearly 200 sources within and outside of Russia. These sources include human rights advocates, political activists, opposition figures, and journalists.
Ms. Katzarova is hopeful that the Russian government will grant her permission to visit the country in the near future. She also expressed a wish to engage in dialogue with both members of civil society and government and justice system officials.
The speaker expressed her wish for the Russian government to reconsider and engage in dialogue with her “mandate”. She stated that her role, like that of any other UN special rapporteur, is to aid the authorities.
She mentioned that she had reached out to the Human Rights Commissioner, Ms. Moskalkova, as her position is independent from the Government.
The UN independent expert stated that the human rights ombudsman was eager to receive input for her report from the Russian people, as they can bring their complaints to her. However, she did not respond.
The specialist’s role includes catering to the needs of the Russian population and providing them with a platform to express themselves, especially during a time of widespread isolation.
According to her, numerous Russians departed their homeland in order to evade conscription or mistreatment due to their beliefs and political views. She stressed the importance of the governments of the nations where these Russians sought refuge to offer them assistance and aid.
Since Russians are currently facing challenges in traveling outside their country, she mentioned that she had urged officials from various nations, the European Union, and Western governments to reconsider their restrictions. She believes that these bans only further isolate the Russian people and promote the government’s propaganda that the West dislikes them simply because they are citizens of Russia.
is often rooted in a lack of confidence
The cause of hesitancy to express oneself is frequently based on a deficiency in self-assurance.
The specialist also highlighted that the country has developed a climate of fear due to the many instances of media personnel, human rights defenders, and attorneys facing persecution.
People are currently hesitant to share their viewpoints, specifically when it comes to the conflict.
I do not think that all Russians are in favor of any conflict, specifically the one involving Ukraine. As a matter of fact, many Russians have connections with Ukrainians. Ms. Katzarova mentioned that there are even marriages between the two nationalities.
The United Nations Human Rights Council appoints independent experts called UN Special Rapporteurs to examine the conditions in specific countries or broader global topics. These individuals are not affiliated with the UN, do not represent any other group or government, work on an individual basis, and do not receive payment from the UN for their services.