Andrey Rylkov Foundation
for Health and Social Justice

The UN Human Rights Committee published its concluding observations on Russia, in relation to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Today the UN Human Rights Committee published its concluding observations on Russia, in relation to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. You may accesss its full text here.

Andrey Rylkov Foundation together with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal network has worked with the Committee on this issue for a year. We have submitted a Shadow Report to the UN Human Rights Committee in relation to the review of the 7th Periodic Report of the Russian Federation in August 2014. The Shadow Report was highlighting systematic violations by Russian Federation of many of the rights and freedoms of people who use drugs.

On 05.08.2014 the UN Human Rights Committee published a List of Issues in relation to the 7th periodic report of Russian Federation. Russia had time to response to the Committee till March 2015. 

Russia provided the Committee with its responses in December 2014.  In February 2015 the Andrey Rylkov Foundation provided the Committee with its observations with regard to December responses of Russia on the List of Issues.

And finally, we had a chance to make a 2 minutes intervention at the recent Committee meeting in Geneva, where it considered the State reports and the responses to it. 

We are glad that the Committee was susceptible to our communications, asked a number of a strongly worded questions in the LOI and at the last Session and came up with a recommendation concerning systematic tortures of drug users in custody:

Drug users

16. The Committee, noting the legal ban on opioid substitution therapy, is concerned at allegations that the police sometimes deliberately cause arrested drug users to suffer withdrawal symptoms in order to elicit forced confessions or coerce them into cooperating with the police – actions that would also ultimately lead to violation of their rights under article 14 of the Covenant. The Committee notes that such physical and mental pain and suffering associated with withdrawal syndromes may amount to torture or ill-treatment and is concerned that the State party’s approach to the treatment of drug-dependent individuals deprived of their liberty does not seem to adequately protect them against such suffering (arts. 7, 9, 10, and 14).

The State party should take all necessary measures to ensure (a) that its policies vis-à-vis drug users deprived of their liberty fully conform to its obligation to effectively protect them against the pain and suffering associated with the withdrawal syndrome and that timely, adequate and scientifically based medical assistance to counter withdrawal symptoms is available in practice; (b) that adequate legal safeguards are in place against conducting interrogations or any other procedural actions while the person is suffering from withdrawal syndrome; (c) that due process rights of drug users deprived of their liberty, including not to be compelled to testify against themselves, are effectively respected in practice.

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