The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has published its Concluding Observations for the Russian Federation following its 62nd session in September 2017. The Committee issued important recommendations related to the issues raised in ADC Memorial’s alternative report on the situation of vulnerable groups (with the participation of CrimeaSOS and the NGO Revival of Kazas and the Shor People).
Taking into consideration statements made by human rights defenders about systemic discrimination against Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians in annexed Crimea, including the violation of the rights of those who did not reject their Ukrainian citizenship, the Committee called upon the RF government to ensure that these groups can exercise their economic, social, and cultural rights.
The Committee devoted a great deal of attention to the situation of the Roma population in the RF and called upon the Russian government to find a comprehensive solution to the problem of housing in Roma settlements while observing human rights by improving access to resources and living conditions, legalizing houses, ceasing demolitions and evictions, and, if this cannot be avoided, providing alternate housing and compensation. The Committee also condemned the widespread but officially denied practice of segregating Roma children in schools and using other discriminatory practices resulting in a poor education and high dropout rate for Roma children, and called upon the government to take effective measures to improve the situation.
The Committee also expressed concern about access to education for the children of asylum seekers and refugees and recommended that children be accepted at schools regardless of their status or registration.
The Committee recommended legalizing territories of traditional land use by indigenous peoples and providing them with special protection, revoking or amending laws worsening the situation of indigenous communities leading a traditional way of life, and ensuring that indigenous peoples can actually participate in discussions about the projects of extractive companies and the adoption of decisions about the industrial use of territories where indigenous peoples reside.
A separate recommendation was devoted to indigenous peoples who have already suffered from the actions of extractive companies: citing the opinion of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, LINK, the CESCR called upon the RF government to ensure fair compensation for damages, including residents of the razed Shor village of Kazas.
The topic raised by ADC Memorial of protecting the socioeconomic rights of migrant workers was reflected in the Committee’s recommendation calling on the RF to ensure that migrant workers have the same working conditions and equal pay, medical insurance coverage, and social security protection, to create conditions for legal and safe work, and to prosecute employers caught exploiting migrant workers.
The Committee agreed with ADC Memorial’s position regarding the list of banned jobs and professions for women and noted that this list only furthers existing inequalities between men and women in terms of employment under the pretext of protecting a woman’s reproductive health from harm that has no scientific basis. The Committee reiterated its recommendation from its consideration of the RF’s previous report to review this list.