Ukraine Fires All 6 Deputy Defense Ministers: Live Updates & News | Brasarr

Ukraine Fires All 6 Deputy Defense Ministers: Live Updates & News
Credit…Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times

Russia has severely curtailed citizens’ rights since President Vladimir V. Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, according to a United Nations report published Monday, which cited mass arrests of anti-war protests as part of a broader crackdown on dissent and independence . media.

By June, more than 20,000 people had been detained for protesting the invasion, according to Mariana Katzarova, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Russia.

Mrs. Katzarova cited data collected by OVD-Info, an independent human rights group established in Russia in 2011. Over half of those arrested were women, she said.

Her report described actions taken by the Kremlin under both old and new laws that targeted dissent about the invasion and broader political opposition.

More than 7,600 cases have been opened and at least 185 people have been prosecuted under new laws that criminalize criticism of the armed forces, with charges of attending anti-war rallies, sharing or liking anti-war posts on social media, sharing information about reports about war crimes by the Russian army in Ukraine or sing Ukrainian songs.

Katzarova said some protesters had been beaten and there had been credible reports of torture, as well as allegations of rape and sexual violence by law enforcement officials against men and women.

Mrs. Katzarova, a Bulgarian activist, was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor developments in Russia, the first time such action has been taken against one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Her report came 18 months after the UN General Assembly suspended Russia’s membership of the Human Rights Council over its attacks on Ukraine. The Kremlin has launched a campaign to win back that seat next month in elections that could be a critical test of support for the diplomatic isolation Russia has faced over the invasion.

“This report is important for members of the Human Rights Council who have been on the fence about what is happening in Russia,” said Dave Elseroad, the Geneva-based head of advocacy for the Human Rights House Foundation. “For smaller states that wish to remain neutral, it shows that, independently of the war, a situation exists in Russia that warrants international attention and concern.”

According to Katzarova, the recent crackdown by the Kremlin builds on a tightening of restrictions that has unfolded over the past two decades, aided by a legal system that acts as an instrument of executive power that “undermines the rule of law” and citizens’ trust on it.

The Russian government’s punishment for dissent extends to political opponents of the Kremlin. And while much attention is paid to the draconian prison sentences handed down to prominent political opposition figures — such as the 19-year sentence added to the prison term of Aleksei A. Navalny — at least 513 people were prosecuted on “politically motivated charges” in 2022. Katzarova reported. A further 198 cases were initiated in 2023.

Russian officials have also used laws restricting so-called foreign agents and organizations deemed “undesirable” to shut down the activities of hundreds of civilian activist groups, she found.

Media organizations have operated in an increasingly hostile environment over the past two decades, Katzarova noted. Journalists have faced violence and harassment, as well as the threat of legal action, under the guise of laws covering defamation, privacy and extremism that halt reporting on protests, corruption or gender identity issues.

The arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on espionage charges — allegations that the United States and the paper have condemned — highlighted a surge in arrests of journalists and others on charges of treason or espionage, Katzarova said. Eighty people have been charged with treason in the first seven months of 2023, she added.

Mrs. Katzarova, who started her work in May, said she had sought cooperation from the Kremlin for her report but received no commitment. A diplomatic note from Russia to the UN human rights office in Geneva in July said that any submissions by Katzarova “would automatically be ignored.”

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