UN Rapporteurs 'Concerned' Over Memorial Liquidation Proceedings


The UN Human Rights Council has made public questions to the Russian authorities concerning the prosecutors' move to shut down International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Centre.

The request for information is signed by UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, cultural rights, freedom of opinion rights, rights to peaceful assembly and association, the independence of judges and lawyers as well as the Independent Expert on human rights.

The UN Special Rapporteurs have asked the Russian authorities to provide 'legal and factual basis' for the lawsuits against Memorial and 'how these are in compliance' with Russia's human rights obligations. The document also asks the authorities about the measures taken by the Russian government to ensure that 'human rights defenders and civil society organisations are able to carry out their legitimate and peaceful work freely [...] without fear of threats or acts of intimidation.'

The UN Special Rapporteurs have called on the Russian authorities to take all the necessary steps to halt the alleged violations that may result from the actions taken against Memorial. The UN communication also urges the authorities in Russia to repeal or substantially amend the Foreign Agent Law over concerns about its impact on the Russian civil society.

The communication, available on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights website, was transmitted to the Russian authorities on 24 November 2021, a day before the first hearing into the Prosecutor General's lawsuit against International Memorial. The Russian authorities responded on 19 January 2022. As of now, the authorities' response has not been made available by the UN.