Memorial Anti-discrimination Centre on rights violations against vulnerable groups

posted 13 Feb 2017, 04:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Feb 2017, 04:25 ]
1 February 2017


A new shadow report has been published by the Memorial Anti-Discrimination Centre on Russia's compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The shadow report, entitled ‘The Russian Federation: violations of the economic and social rights of the Roma (Gypsies) and indigenous minor peoples, and discrimination against vulnerable groups in the workplace’, was compiled by Memorial ADC in order to draw up a list of issues that the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is to send to the Russian Government.

The poor socio-economic situation of vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities like Gypsies, indigenous minority peoples and migrant workers has been compounded by an overall increase in poverty in the country, including among the working population.

This is due to the global economic crisis, as well as the sanctions against Russia that resulted from the annexation of the Crimea (2014) and military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the counter-sanctions imposed by Russia on other countries, which in turn led to high inflation and a general deterioration in the economic situation of the country.

The report by Memorial ADC deals with violations of the rights of Russia's Roma population: the disconnection of Gypsy settlements’ communications; demolition of homes and eviction of residents - including children, often in the coldest part of the year; denial of the rights of Roma children to education (segregation into so-called 'Gypsy classes', or even 'Gypsy schools’, and the very low level of education, which prevents children from going on to secondary school); and a lack of government programmes aimed at overcoming structural discrimination against the Roma in Russia caused by repressive anti-Gypsy practices in various regions of the country.

The report raises the issue of the violation of the social, economic and cultural rights of Russia's indigenous minority peoples. Such violations include the predatory activities of mining companies, which cause irreparable damage to territories of traditional habitation and Territories of Traditional Natural Resource Use, the displacement of indigenous communities from lands that they have historically occupied, the destruction of holy sites, inadequate measures to sustain languages and cultures, and the persecution of activists trying to protest against violations of the rights of indigenous peoples.

The issues of discrimination against vulnerable groups in the workplace that are being examined include the list of professions that are prohibited to women, the harassment and dismissal of teaching staff in high schools and higher education institutions on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, the harassment of teachers and pre-school staff on the grounds of their religious affiliation, and the violation of the economic and social rights of migrant workers.

The government report, along with Russia's responses to the list of issues, are to be considered at the 62nd session of UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in September 2017.

Translated by Lindsay Munford