Russia: Civil society action to counter discrimination and misuse of anti-extremism legislation

IPHR’s Russian partner organisations the Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial and the SOVA Centre for Information and Analysis are engaged in efforts to defend basic rights such as the right to freedom of expression and opinion, the right to freedom of religion and conscience and the right to non-discrimination. Serious challenges exist in these areas of human rights protection in Russia, making civil society action to counter violations and assist victims particularly essential. However, a series of new laws adopted since Vladimir Putin took office as Russia’s president for the third time in March 2012 have seriously limited the activity of human rights defenders and non-governmental organisations and made it increasingly difficult for them to carry out their work.

This paper jointly prepared by ADC Memorial, SOVA and IPHR summarizes major concerns with respect to racism, xenophobia and discrimination, as well as the misuse of anti-extremism legislation in Russia. It also provides an overview of recent legislative developments that pose challenges to civil society action to address these concerns and makes recommendations to the international community for how it can support civil society groups in their continued struggle to enforce rights in these areas.

Read the full paper.