Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 16th Session
Universal Period Review of Russia
29 April 2013

Australia remains concerned by credible allegations of severe human rights abuses—including torture and disappearances—in the North Caucasus. As the Sochi Olympics approach, international attention on the Caucasus will increase. Noting the Russian Federation’s 1998 ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights, we recommend the Russian Federation fully implement the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, including any judgements related to officials accused of serious human rights violations in the North Caucasus.

We are concerned by legislation that curbs the civil rights of Russia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community. We recommend the Russian Federation rescind this legislation. We further recommend the Russian Federation work on rights-related legislation with its Constitutional Court and Human Rights Commissioner to ensure legislation aligns with Russia’s international obligations.

We are concerned about the civil rights restrictions of those critical of the Government, including arbitrary arrests of opposition figures, selective judicial processes and requiring NGOs to declare themselves ‘foreign agents.’ In addition to being inconsistent with Russia’s international human rights obligations, we remind that such restrictions on civil society also impact on Russia’s international reputation and undermine the otherwise inclusive Russian leadership of the C20 process within the G20. In line with its legal obligation to do so, we recommend the Russian Federation fully implement any judgement by the European Court of Human Rights regarding the ‘foreign agent’ law.

We remain concerned by the Sergei Magnitsky case and the level of protections afforded to whistle-blowers in Russia. We welcome the 2nd of April signing of legislation to protect whistle-blowers. We recommend the Russian Federation implements this legislation in a transparent, consistent and unbiased manner.