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Official report on human rights in Russia removed from the Web

Source: (info), 02/03/12

· Electoral law  · Freedom of expression  · Ombudsmen

Russian citizens will now have to wait until after the presidential election to view the country’s human rights report for 2011. The official document was removed from the website of Russian Human Rights Commissioner, Vladimir Lukin.

According to, a significant portion of the report addressed election fraud, mistreatment of detainees and the ban on “homosexual propaganda.”

Lukin released the official report on human rights in 2011 on the morning of 28 February. After he had presented the report to President Dmitry Medvedev, it was published on the Commissioner’s site. However, the report was removed 10 minutes after publication. The Commission’s press-service said the report will be published immediately after the 4 March presidential election, possibly the following day. In any case, the document remained in search engine caches, according to the citizen journalism organization Ridus.

The report states that political rights and freedoms continued to concern a minority of the Russian population: they accounted for 1.8% of all human rights complaints, an increase of 0.6% from the previous year. Complaints about voting right violations did not increase in the aftermath of the 4 December parliamentary elections, Lukin stressed in the report. According to his data, the number of complaints concerning freedom of assembly violations decreased almost by half.

The report also states that for some governmental bodies, the “maturation of our society” and the expansion in the use of technology to monitor elections had come as a surprise. This conclusion is supported by the “heightened nervous reaction” of state authorities to citizens’ attempts to monitor the pre-election campaigns, the human rights Commissioner said. Lukin also spoke out in support of one of the initiators of the Citizen Observer project, describing the group as a “very interesting and productive attempt at independent election monitoring, deserving of approval and support.”

In the report Lukin also draws attention to the Russian courts’ violations of the rights to freedom and personal privacy, citing the arrest of Left Front leader Sergei Udaltsov as an example.

In the section on personal privacy Lukin also addresses the “strange” bans on the promotion of non-traditional sexual orientations that have been passed in several regions of the country. The ombudsman emphasized that the term “propaganda” carries a “legal ambiguity,” and that the recent St. Petersburg ban on homosexual propaganda “creates the conditions for arbitrary action against citizens who are fully of age.”