|On Compliance of the Russian Federation with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Alternative NGO Report
Submitted by Russian NGOs to the Attention of the UN Human Rights Committee
in Connection with the Consideration of the Sixth Periodical Report of
the Russian Federation
The Alternative NGO Report On Compliance of the Russian Federation with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in the period from 2003 to 2008 has been prepared jointly by a coalition of Russian non-governmental organizations, including Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, “Public Verdict” Foundation, “Memorial” Human Rights Center, “Civic Assistance” Committee, Center for International Protection, National Center for Prevention of Violence “Anna”, Center for the Defense of Media Rights, and the Inter-Regional Human Rights Group. Materials for the report have been also provided by Lawyers for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms/ JURIX, Moscow Helsinki Group, the Institute for Human Rights, “Right of the Child”, “Social Partnership” Foundation, and other Russian NGOs. Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights coordinated preparation of the Report.
The Alternative Report is submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee in connection with the consideration by the Committee of the Sixth Periodic Report of the Russian Federation on compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Alternative Report is intended to fill certain gaps in the information provided by the Russian Federation to the Human Rights Committee and highlight the most important issues of the observance of civil and political rights in Russia.
The report continues the activities of Russian NGOs aimed at developing their cooperation with the UN treaty bodies and in particular with the Human Rights Committee. In 2003 Russian NGOs submitted to the Human Rights Committee an alternative report in connection with the consideration by the Committee of the Fifth Periodic Report of the Russian Federation. In January 2009 Russian NGOs submitted their recommendations to the Human Rights Committee on the list of issues to be developed by the Committee as part of its review of the Sixth Periodic Report of the Russian Federation.
While working on the Alternative Report we did not seek confrontation with the official position of the Russian Federation and did not try to disprove the official information and conclusions. We do not deny that over the last five years certain positive changes have taken place with regard to the observance of certain rights. At the same time we express our strong concern about deterioration of the situation with a broad spectrum of civil and political rights enshrined in the Covenant and failure by the Russian Federation to implement many of the Concluding Observations and Recommendations by the Human Rights Committee adopted in 2003 as a result of its review of the Fifth Periodic Report of the Russian Federation. Our task was to present a position which differs from the official one in order to allow the Committee members to form a more comprehensive and objective understanding of various problems of observance of civil and political rights in the Russian Federation.
Due to limited resources available to Russian NGOs, the Alternative Report does not cover all the articles of the Covenant, highlighting only the main issues, and contains recommendations on only selected articles. Where appropriate, reference is made to other reports of Russian and international NGOs.
Article 2, part 1 (equality before the law)
Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Paragraph 1, Article 19 of the 1993 RF Constitution declares that ‘all people are equal before law and in a court of law.’ Paragraph 2, Article 19 envisages that:
The state shall guarantee the equality of the rights and liberties of a human being and citizen irrespective of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, property status and official position, place of residence, attitude towards religion, convictions, membership in public associations as well as other circumstances. All forms of restriction of civil rights on account of social status, race, nationality, language or religion are banned.
Under Paragraph 2, Article 17 of the RF Constitution, ‘the basic rights and liberties of the human being are inalienable and belong to everyone from birth.’ Paragraph 3, Article 55 declares that ‘Human rights and civil liberties may be restricted by the federal law only to the extent required for the protection of the fundamentals of the constitutional system, morality, health, rights and lawful interests of other persons, for ensuring the defense of the country and the security of the state.’ Under Paragraph 3, Article 62:
Foreign citizens and stateless persons enjoy in the Russian Federation the rights of its citizens and bear their duties with the exception of cases stipulated by the federal law or international treaty of the Russian Federation.
The norms proclaiming the equality of human rights and civil liberties regardless of nationality, color, language, religion, social origin and other circumstance are also found in the sectoral legislation. However, neither the Constitution nor the current legislation provide for a direct ban on discrimination or offers any effective remedies against discrimination and for the reimbursement of damage inflicted.1
In practice, public authorities repeatedly violate the principles of inalienability, universality and equality of the basic rights and liberties with regard to large categories of people in discriminatory manner on the following grounds:
non-availability of identification papers;
place of residence (registration of residence);
The non-availability with a person, irrespective of his/her citizenship (including the person whose RF citizenship is not challenged by authorities), of identification papers within the boundaries of the Russian Federation implies his/her inability to exercise in full the rights guaranteed under Articles 9 (1), 12 (1 and 2), 14, 16, 17, 23 (2), 24, 25 of ICCPR. In practice, the only document identifying him/her as citizen of the Russian Federation within the boundaries of the country is a regular domestic passport of a Russian citizen.2 The person who has got no passport is restricted in his/her freedom of movement, in particular, is unable to acquire railway or air tickets, has no right to obtain a passport for traveling abroad and consequently, to leave the country. That person is also deprived of the right to choose a place of residence since he/she is unable to register himself/herself at the place of residence. He/she is also restricted in access to justice as the courts won’t accept civil suits, complaints and applications from persons not possessing domestic passports; these persons even won’t be allowed to enter a court building. In the absence of a passport, one finds it impossible to register his/her marriage. In the absence of a passport, a citizen may not take part in elections or be employed at a job in civil or municipal service.
In theory, every citizen of the Russian Federation who has reached the age of 14, is not only entitled but obligated to obtain a domestic passport and is free to do that regardless of availability of registration of residence. In practice, however, due to numerous insurmountable conditions of procedure existing within the passport system and also because of the established administrative practice one quite often finds it impossible to obtain a passport in the absence of registration of residence at any point in the territory of the country. For instance, obtaining a passport is often a problem confronting persons recently released from prison who, for whatever reason, have lost their certificate of release. It is important to note that if a citizen has permanent registration anywhere in Russia, he/she, finds himself/herself practically unable to obtain or re-establish a passport at any place in the country other than the place of his/her permanent registration.
The regional statutory acts and law enforcement routine practices lead to differentiation in the scope of rights enjoyed by Russian nationals residing in the same locality with and without residence registration. Meanwhile, many citizens are compelled to reside at a certain place as they, either objectively, i.e., not through a fault of theirs, fail to meet the requirements of the passport system or are arbitrarily denied registration by authorities. The restrictions imposed for reasons of registration are mainly related to social and economic rights (the right to work, to dispose, possess and use property, to social security, medical service), although they also tend to affect civil and political rights – the right of entering into marriage, of inviolability of private and family life, of access to justice, of participation in elections.
Apart from statutory legal distinctions between the rights of the RF citizens and those of aliens, there exist numerous unjustified restrictions targeting foreign nationals, stateless persons and also persons not recognized officially as citizens of the Russian Federation under a variety of arbitrary pretexts. Citizens of the Russian Federation that are in a position of stateless persons, i.e., those actually not recognized as RF citizens, are unable to receive identification papers at all.
There also exist several categories of citizens of the former USSR who cannot be nationals of any other state except the Russian Federation and who, according to the established practice, are denied recognition as Russian nationals. Basically, these are the people who did not have propiska, or nowadays residence registration on 6 February 1992, at the time of entry into effect of the 1991 Law ‘On Citizenship of the Russian Federation’. For example, residents of Russia who used to live in some region of Russia under temporary registration on 6 February 1992 and who were then residing under temporary registration or without registration altogether were denied new Russian passports issued instead of Soviet IDs in early 2000s. Also, throughout 2000s, the Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Migration Service have being annulling Russian citizenship of dozens hundreds of Russia’s residents under formal arbitrary pretexts that there had been no records of their residence in Russia on 6 February 1992 or evidence of their application to Russian consulates abroad.
Moreover, the authorities are applying arbitrary criteria, not based on law to qualify the stay of a person in the Russian Federation as ‘illegal,’ which serves as the ground for non-recognition of the basic rights and liberties. The lack of registration of residence or stay, whatever reasons for that may be and whether the elements of guilt is present, is taken as an administrative offence whereas an issue of administrative offence supersedes that of the lawfulness of stay in the territory of the country. Not recognized, contrary to the law, as citizens of the country and treated as ‘illegal immigrants,’ former Soviet citizens, having infringed no formal legal requirements, find themselves deprived not only of the right to liberty of movement and choice of residence but also of such rights as the right to liberty and inviolability of person, of access to justice, of inviolability of dwelling.
Under the 2002 Federal Law ‘On the Legal Status of Foreign Nationals in the Russian Federation,’ foreigners residing in the Russian Federation with a temporary residence permission, formally are not allowed to move outside the region specifically allocated to their residence. Citizens of the former USSR holding former USSR passports with no indication therein of their contemporary citizenship, from the mid 90-s have been deprived of the right to cross the state border, i.e., to leave the country.
Persons belonging to some ethnic groups in the country have been subjected to continuous discrimination to the extent of non-recognition of their basic rights and liberties. As a rule, such discrimination is based on denial of registration of residence and control over compliance with the regime of registration. Chechens are continuously subjected to discrimination restriction of rights throughout the country.3 In 2006, there was the nation-wide campaign of persecutions against Georgian citizens and ethnic Georgians. Since 2005 a wave of demolition of Romani villages and evictions of Roma people swept over the country.
A serious problem is posed by discriminatory treatment practiced by the law enforcement authorities with regard to ethnic minorities, primarily, nationals of Caucasus, Central Asia and also the Roma, which is manifested as arbitrary identification checks, search of living premises and detentions, i.e., infringement upon the rights protected under Paragraph 1, Article 9 and Article 17 of ICCPR.
Article 2, part 3 (right for effective remedy)
3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:
(a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;
(b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;
(c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.
Judicial review as a measure of prevention of the abuses
Article 125 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation became the most important innovation in the Russian legislation and it allows bringing appeals to a court against any decisions, actions or inaction of investigative authorities, which affect constitutional rights. In the recent years under various pretexts the judicial authorities more and more often refuse the right to lodge such appeals. The most widespread pretext is that the reported violations do not infringe on constitutional rights.
For example, Khasavyurtovskiy court of Dagestan did not discern what particular constitutional rights were infringed upon of the complainants who filed a complaint regarding refusal to open a criminal case after a murder of their six-year old daughter during a “mop-up” operation in their village in Chechnya.
Regarding the case of M. Khodorkovsky the courts of Moscow and Chita multiple times refused to consider complaints, even though the matter was regarding the infringement upon constitutional right for defense. Similar examples of these are multiple.
While justifying these decisions the courts refer to instructions of the Supreme Court of Russia. If in fact these references are wrong, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation must curb such practice of denial of justice.
Politically motivated cases
A series of trials took place in Russia concerning the so called espionage cases. Journalists, scientists, PhDs were convicted (V. Danilov, V. Moiseev, G. Pasko, A. Babkin, I. Sutyagin and others), who were “exposed” essentially in their contacts with foreigners, even though they did not transfer any classified information. The courts determined their guilt only on the basis of “expert assessments” of the classified nature of the transferred information which were conducted by persons being in subordination vis-à-vis the prosecuting agency, the Federal Security Service.
In these circumstances such sentences do not correspond with the right to a fair trial (Article 14 of the Covenant): independence, impartiality of judges, equality of arms, legal certainty, as well as prohibition of punishment for actions of non-criminal nature (Article 15 of the Covenant). Also their right for distribution of information without unjustified, arbitrary limitations were not observed (Article 19 of the Covenant).
The Yukos case and the Khodorkovsky trial
The cases against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his company Yukos are amongst the most notorious of the politically motivated cases that have attracted international attention. Khodorkovsky was convicted in 2005 after a trial that was broadly condemned for its fundamental lack of due process. Sentenced to eight years imprisonment he was sent to serve his sentence in Siberia in defiance of the applicable law. Just as he became eligible for parole further charges were brought against him - new charges that, as President Obama has commented, seem no more than “a repackaging of the old charges”. The harassment of his lawyers by the State has been a persistent feature of the case: many have faced disbarment and some face criminal proceedings. One, Vasily Aleksanyan, was offered life-saving medical treatment by the Prosecutors only in return for giving evidence against Khodorkovsky.
Yukos itself has been driven to bankruptcy and is now in the hands of the State. Yukos’ main asset, Yuganskneftegaz, was sold at considerable under-value at a much-criticised auction to a single bidder. Shortly afterwards Mr Andrei Illarionov, then the Economic Adviser to President Putin, described the sale as “the scam of the year”.
The Council of Europe has twice now condemned the cases against Khodorkovsky and Yukos. In 2005 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution stating that the cases went “beyond the mere pursuit of criminal justice, and includes elements such as the weakening of an outspoken political opponent, the intimidation of other wealthy individuals and the regaining of control of strategic economic assets”. In 2009 its Special Rapporteur on “Allegations of politically-motivated abuses of the criminal justice system in Council of Europe member states” commented that the case was emblematic of the term “legal nihilism” used by President Medvedev when he had described the difficulties within the Russian criminal justice system. In adopting her report the Council of Europe cited the Khodorkovsky case as demonstrating “the need for the fundamental importance, for the rule of law and the protection of individual liberty, of shielding criminal justice systems throughout Europe from politically-motivated interferences.”
Use of the metal cages in the trial-rooms for all the accused
The use of obligatory metal cages for all defendants can not be justified in those courtrooms which are not permanently used for consideration of grave offences. It could predetermine the finding the defendant guilt as public and sometimes prolonged keeping of an innocent person in a cage (that is of a person whose guilt has not been decided by the court yet) does not comply with the requirements of the Covenant about the use of only such limitations which are absolutely necessary. Such inhuman and degrading treatment of defendants is aggravated by lack of food, insufficient drink and inadequate rest (only 5-6 hours of sleep in the days of court hearings), and in such an exhausted condition they have to defend themselves. It does not comply with the requirements of Article 14 of the Covenant.
Public hearing as a minimum standard of a fair trial
All the decisions of judges about closed door proceedings must be well-grounded. Almost in all politically motivated cases judges decided to close the door under various pretexts. It should be qualified as abuse of power in desire to draw the consideration of cases out of attention and oversight of the public and the media. Consideration of Anna Politkovskaya murder case is one particular example where in order to justify a closed door trial a manufactured pretext was used.
Right to individual petitions – Article 5 of the Optional Protocol to the Covenant
The State party becoming a party to the Optional Protocol has recognized the competence of the Committee to determine whether there has been a violation of the Covenant or not. The State party has undertaken to ensure to all individuals within its territory or subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the Covenant and to provide an effective remedy when it has been determined that a violation has occurred.
According to the information obtained from the applicants there were not any sufficient measures taken to ensure full compliance with all Views of the Committee under the Optional Protocol: e.g.: Gridin v. Russian Federation, No. 770/1997; Lantsova v. Russian Federation, No. 763/1997; Telitsina v. Russian Federation, No.888/1999; Smirnova v. Russian Federation, No. 712/1996; Dugin v. Russian Federation, No. 815/1997; Zheikov v. Russian Federation, No.889/1999; Platonov v. Russian Federation, No.1218/2003; and Babkin v. Russian Federation, No.1310/2004).
Article 2, part 3 (right for effective remedy) in connection with Article 6 (right to life)
Impunity for human rights violations in the course of counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus
Up to now no effective investigations has been conducted in criminal cases initiated by the Russian authorities concerning the following facts:
- mass killings and murders of civilians within the territory of the Chechen Republic in the course of counter-terrorist operations during “sweeps” of the village of Novye Andy (February 5, 2000), the village of Al khan-Yurt (December 1999), the village of Mesmer-Yurt (May 21 – June 11, 2002), the village of Tootsie-Yurt (December 30, 2001 – January 3, 2002), the village of Starye Atari (in 2000-2001), cossack village of Borozdinovskaya (July 4, 2005), the village of Zumsoy (January 14-15, 2005), Staropromyslovsky area of the city of Grozny (January – February 2000);
- discovery of mass graves of bodies of people previously detained by representatives of the Army and staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (February 21, 2001 in the vicinity of the Russian military base in the village of Shankara in the summer community of March 13, 2001 within the territory of the base in Shankara; September 7, 2002 in the forest belt near the blockhouse of the federal forces situated near the city of Magnitogorsk).
None of the officials or servicemen has been held responsible for mass death in the Chechen Republic of civilians caused by an air rocket attack which hit a refugee convoy near the village of Shamanic-Yurt on August 29, 2999 and during shooting attack of the village of Katy-Yurt on February 4, 2000.
Upon complaints of victims of bomb attack against a refugee convoy (the case of Isabella, Supernova and Bazaar against Russia) and upon a complaint of a victim of shooting attack of the village of Katy-Yurt (case of Isabella against Russia) the European Court of Human Rights made on February 24, 2005 a final decision that Russia is guilty of breach of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 13 (right to effective means of defense) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Based on the facts the prosecutions authorities of the Russian Federation initiated criminal cases and determined specific officials responsible for preparation and implementation of these military operations but no one was held accountable.
None of the officers of the law enforcement agencies or the military officers who took part in a “sweep” operation on July 28, 2007 in the village of Ali-Yurt in the Republic of Extinguisher has been held accountable; during this operation dozens of local residents were beaten up badly and suffered injuries.
Up to now none of the criminal cases open in relation to the crimes committed against civilians during the counter-terrorism operations in the North Caucasus which became the matter of contention in the European Court on Human Rights are investigated.
An insignificant number of criminal cases were open during the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus (1999-2007) concerning instances of kidnapping and disappearance of people (Article 126 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) even less of such cases are investigated.
According to the Prosecutor's Office of the Chechen Republic for 2007 during the whole period of the counter-terrorism operation 1952 criminal cases were open concerning kidnapping of 2734 people. During this period only 87 cases were investigated and 31 cases were closed. The remaining cases are still not investigated. The information of human rights organizations permits stating there is a higher number of kidnapped persons from 3 to 5 thousand people. In many instances the facts pointed to complicity of state authorities' representatives in committing these crimes. In the report of human rights commissioner in the Chechen Republic Nukhadjieva “Issues of traceless disappearance of people in the Chechen Republic and search of mechanism for determining whereabouts of persons removed and held by force” (2006) it is stated that in “187 cases there are dates, time of detention, numbers of roadblocks, license number plates of military vehicles, last names, names, patronymics and radio call signs of servicemen, who participated in their arrest, titles of units which conducted the special operations etc.”
Up to now no one has been brought to trial for the death of people detained on suspicion of committing crimes and brought to premises which belong to the Ministry of Internal Affairs from :
- death of Bashir Velkhiev in the building of Department of Organized Crime Control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Extinguisher in Room 17 during the night from July 20th to July 21st, 2004. A criminal case #04560079 was initiated under Article 286 (abuse of office) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation;
- death of Murad Bogatyrev on September 8, 2007 in the building of District Office of the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the city of Malgobek of the Republic of Extinguisher A criminal case # 07540061 was initiated under Article 286 (abuse of office);
- death of Zeitun Gaev on November 17, 2007 in the building of Department of Organized Crime Control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic (city of Nalchik). Gaev was brought there on November 15, but up to his death the police officers denied he was there and did not let the lawyer to see him.
In the North Caucasus according to the reports of human rights organizations and complaints of lawyers concerning the people who were detained or arrested as suspects for committing of crimes under Articles 206 (terrorism), Article 208 (organization of illegal armed group or participation therein), Article 209 (banditry), Article 222 (illegal storage or carrying of weapons or munitions), Article 317 (infringement on life of a law enforcement officer) of the Criminal Code of the RF, after their detention or arrest for a long time the destiny of such people remains unknown to their relatives (up to several days); the lawyers hired by their relatives often have no access to them.
Article 3 (equality of men and women)
The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant.
Violence against women is a human rights violation and a form of discrimination which affects the rights of women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the Covenant.
In Russia today the main obstacle to effectively responding to violence perpetuated against women is the absence of a federal public policy that defines the problem as a serious impediment to the observance and achievement of women's rights as human rights. Despite major efforts and many successful practices in the field of the prevention of violence against women in Russia over the last twenty years, no comprehensive strategy to solving the problem has been adopted and measures taken by the Government of Russia on combating violence against women have been insufficient. The National Federal Programme and the National Action Plan on Combating Violence against Women and Assisting Victims of Violence have not been developed or launched.
In the early 90s there was a significant rise not only of public activity in the area of women's rights, but also in that of the state. This was particularly noticeable during the Beijing Conference in 1995, which stimulated the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action for the advancement of women at both the regional and Federal levels. This led to the establishment of national and regional mechanisms for monitoring the status of women and to the development of effective interaction between public organizations and various government agencies. The same time period also saw the first attempts to adopt legislation on the prevention of domestic violence, which, unfortunately, has not led to a desired result. But gradually, the problem of women's rights in general, as well as that of violence against women, has ceased to be a priority and to be analyzed with adequate gravity.
The administrative reform of the Federal government (as of 2004), accompanied by structural changes and staff changes, has effectively destroyed the previously existing national mechanisms for establishing equal rights for women. To date, virtually all state agencies dealing with gender equality have been liquidated or have ceased functioning.
The National Action Plan for the advancement of women and enhancing their role in society (2001-2005) ended in 2005. In 2004, the Commission on Women in the Russian Federation under the leadership of Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation suspended its work. The Commission on Women, Family and Demographics under the auspices of the President of the Russian Federation in the Federation Council was also eliminated.
To date, the actual work on a wide range of gender issues at the state level is handled by the State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children and the Ministry of Social Development and Health. The issues of violence are not a priority in their work.
The insufficient action of the State is also beginning to be noticed by the people of Russia: according to a Gallup Poll survey (2008), 73.3 percent of the respondents stated that the State has not taken the necessary measures to combat domestic violence.
Another example demonstrating the non-priority of the problem is the absence of the Russian Federation in a campaign to combat violence against women, conducted by the European Council in 2006 - 2007. To date, Russia is the only member country of the European Council who did not respond to the European Council's questionnaire regarding this campaign.
In 2008 ANNA, the National Center for the Prevention of Violence, formed a National Independent Commission on Women’s Human Rights and Violence against Women. Members of the commission include prominent analysts from the regions of Russia entered the Commission, including experts on the issues of gender equality and gender-based violence as well as experienced crisis counselors and advocates on women’s rights. The commission monitored women’s human rights violations over the course of 2008. For its report, the Commission drew from interviews, expert surveys and information provided by the regional non-governmental organizations as well as conducted analysis of media articles and of survivors’ complaints.
Based on the monitoring data, the National Independent Commission found violence against women to be a pervasive phenomenon affecting thousands of Russian women. According to the recent statistics, every hour one Russian woman is murdered by a husband or a partner, and conservative estimates suggest that a rape occurs every thirty minutes. Thousands of women in Russia become victims of human trafficking, hundreds of young women forced into marriages, and dozens of women die as a result of honor killings.
As a result of monitoring, the Commission has revealed serious violations of women’s human rights by representatives of the state bodies.
For instance, the Commission has revealed widespread refusals to register women’s complaints, as well as, insensitivity and inaction on behalf of law enforcement agencies, which still view domestic and sexual violence as private matters, not criminal offences and women’s human rights violations. Prosecutors do not respond to women’s complaints in due time. Judges are often insensitive to victims of violence a result of as lack of an awareness of the special nature of violence against women. Health care providers refuse to examine victims of sexual assault and to collect the required evidence.
The State's attitude of non-priority towards issues of violence against women is also reflected in the lack of an adequate number of specialized agencies such as social hostels and shelters where female victims can find refuge. To date, according to our study, in Russia there are only twenty-one such institutions, which are funded, usually, by local budgets. The total number of beds is about 200, and this includes not only women but also children.
State officials’ inaction and insensitivity towards female victims of violence found by the Commission violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly Article 3. According to the Covenant, the Russian Federation must undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant.
Article 4 (derogation of rights under the state of emergency)
1. In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.
2. No derogation from Articles 6, 7, 8 (Paragraphs 1 and 2), 11, 15, 16 and 18 may be made under this provision.
3. Any State Party to the present Covenant availing itself of the right of derogation shall immediately inform the other States Parties to the present Covenant, through the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, of the provisions from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which it was actuated. A further communication shall be made, through the same intermediary, on the date on which it terminates such derogation.
Regime of the counter-terrorist operation, implementation of which was made possible based on the Federal Law of March 6, 2006 #35-FZ “On counteraction to terrorism” is to a great extent similar to the emergency regime, but, unlike the latter, it does not presuppose either an official announcement or informing the UN Secretary-General, or any other limitations stipulated in the Constitutional Law on Emergency Situations (term of the state of emergency, territory of its implementation, etc.).
Thus, limitation of rights under the regime of a counter-terrorist operation clearly does not correspond with the permission under Article 4 of the Covenant of the partial derogation of rights strictly under the condition of the state of emergency.