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– Sova-Center (29.06.2020) – https://www.sova-center.ru/en/religion/publications/2020/06/d42595/ Twelve Russian NGOs, including SOVA Center, submitted a brief joint report to the UN Human Rights Committee for preliminary hearings at the upcoming session of the Committee on Russia’s next report on compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. SOVA Center has authored a section on abuses of anti-extremist policies.

 

A regular session of the UN Human Rights Committee opens on June 29, 2020. In the course of this session, the Committee will give preliminary consideration to the latest report submitted by Russia on its compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

 

In accordance with the procedure, during the session, the Committee will also consider alternative reports on the same topic from various public associations including those from Russia (they are all available on the UN website). After reviewing the country’s report and taking the alternative reports into account, the HR Committee will pose questions to the government once the session ends. The report along with Russia’s responses will be given final consideration in 2021.

 

The alternative reports also include a very concise report compiled by twelve Russian NGOs. SOVA Center presented a section on abuses ofanti-extremist policies, in particular as they relate to freedom of conscience.

 

We ask the HR Committee to pose the following questions to the Government of the Russian Federation:

 

  1. Does the Russian Federation plan to revise the definition of extremist activity, found in the law on countering such activity, in order to narrow down and clarify it, as recommended?
  2. What changes in the legislation or in related commentary are planned in order to ensure that statements or other acts that do not constitute a significant public danger are not punished as extremist crimes and offenses? This pertains primarily to the use of the Criminal Code articles that cover justification of terrorism, incitement to extremist activity and continuing the activities (including religious ones) of organizations banned as extremist.

 

The text of the report by the twelve NGOs can be downloaded on the website of the Human Rights Center “Memorial” in Russian and English.

 

On the UN website the report is available in English only.

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