On Monday, the UN’s acting human rights commissioner condemned the “intimidation” of Russians who opposed the conflict in Ukraine and warned that this was weakening fundamental freedoms.
Nada Al Nashif, the deputy UN rights head, lamented the “intimidation, restrictive measures, and penalties against anyone voicing opposition to the conflict in Ukraine” in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council.
She forewarned that these activities “undermine the enjoyment of basic freedoms, including the rights to free assembly, speech, and association,” guaranteed by the constitution.
In addition, Al Nashif, the interim high commissioner for human rights instead of Michelle Bachelet’s replacement until Volker Turk took over, criticized “pressure against journalists, blockage of internet resources, and other types of censorship.”
According to her, these acts “violate the freedom to access information” and are “incompatible with media plurality.”
She said, “We implore the Russian Federation to reevaluate actions taken to broaden the ‘foreign agent’ classification to include anybody thought to be ‘under the foreign influence.'”
Additionally, she urged the Kremlin to hold off on making “undisclosed communications with officials of governments, foreign, or international organizations” illegal.
Al Nashif made his remarks at the beginning of the 51st session of the rights council, which will remain until October 7.
The council mandated a high-level investigation into any violations committed by Russian forces in Ukraine since their full-scale invasion on February 24 earlier this year.
However, there is mounting pressure on the organization to focus on human rights violations occurring within Russia.
Rights organizations have encouraged European Union member states to take the lead on a resolution to choose a Special Rapporteur—an impartial expert—to investigate the issue.
But no decision has been made because Western nations are concerned about the repercussions if they offer a resolution but cannot secure enough support to adopt it in the 47-member council.