Important recommendations of the UN CEDAW to Russia are focused on the rights of indigenous women and other vulnerable groups

After the review of the state report of Russia, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women issued a number of important recommendations concerning women from vulnerable groups (their situation is described in the report of ADC Memorial and its partners submitted for the 80th session of the UN CEDAW).

The Committee stressed the importance of participation of indigenous women in decision-making process in all levels, especially on the issues of the collective rights to use traditional lands and nature resources that are vital for communities; it is also recommended to ensure effective access for these women to education, medicine, and social benefits.

The Committee consider very important to ensure access to justice for women who find themselves in a vulnerable situation for various reasons: these are either representatives of ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, or residents of rural and remote areas, or women in detention, as well as for instance journalists who need special protection due to their work.

Noting the positive changes in Russian legislation on legal status of foreign citizens (recent amendments on the possibility of obtaining a certificate of a stateless person), the Committee considered the reform too slow and recommended improving access to citizenship/legal status for asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons, as well as groups that often have problems of documentation (like Roma). The CEDAW experts recommended that the Russian Federation ratify the Conventions on the Status of Stateless Persons (1956) and on the Eradication of Statelessness (1961), realizing the intention expressed earlier in the framework of the UPR.

The Committee pointed out the inadmissibility of segregation in education and recommended the development of inclusive education – in particular, for groups such as Roma, migrants and refugees, women with disability. Experts stressed the importance of a safe environment in schools and universities, including the need for measures to combat bullying, harassment and violence in educational institutions.

The experts expressed deep concern about the situation in the North Caucasus region and demanded to protect women from “honor killings” and forced marriages, adopt legislation explicitly criminalizing female genital mutilation; effectively investigate crimes against women and bring perpetrators to justice.

The UN CEDAW, as well as other UN Committees, had to repeat the recommendation to adopt, within a clearly defined time frame, comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, with the definition of forms and grounds of discrimination in line with relevant Conventions and other UN documents.

Among other important recommendations of the Committee there are: adoption of the law on gender equality, the law on combating domestic violence, ratification of the Istanbul Convention; cessation of repressions against human rights defenders and NGOs whose activities are currently restricted by the law on “foreign agents”; the abolition of the so called “propaganda law” discriminating people on the basis of SOGI; ensuring independent monitoring of closed medical institutions, including psycho-neurological hospitals, in order to prevent violence and other human rights violations, developing a system of independent living for disabled women with the assistance services, ensuring their legal capacity and access to justice.