National minorities in Russia need greater protection, according to a new watchdog report.
The authors of the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities‘ analysis, published on 25 July, welcome the government’s “generally positive approach” but make known their concern at the “limited progress made in the protection of persons belonging to national minorities.”
The report states that “steps have been taken to prosecute offences committed by far-right groups and various campaigns against racism and for increased respect for cultural diversity have been launched at federal and regional level.
“However, the number of racially-motivated crimes, targeting in particular persons originating from the Caucasus, Central Asia, as well as the Roma, remains alarming. Moreover, some minorities continue to face widespread discrimination in areas such as access to employment and housing as hostility against ‘non-Slavs’ is exhibited with increasing openness and sometimes fuelled by politicians.
“Persons originating from the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as the Roma, experience selective and disproportionately frequent identity checks by the police and are vulnerable to police corruption and other abuse, including the disproportionate use of force.
“The system of residency registration continues, in some regions, to be implemented in a discriminatory manner. Considerable inequality is also found in the justice and prison systems.
“The participation of persons belonging to national minorities in public life appears limited to the organisation of cultural events. No effective consultation mechanisms are in place to ensure that persons belonging to national minorities have an opportunity to influence effectively decisions on issues concerning them, including on relevant legislative developments.
The report calls for “immediate action” on the part of the authorities to ensure the police’s “persistent practice of ‘ethnic profiling’ is eliminated” and “resolute measures” are taken to “prevent, investigate, prosecute and sanction effectively all instances of racially-motivated offences.”
It adds that expressions of xenophobia must be condemned “firmly, swiftly and unequivocally” and calls for a redoubling of “efforts to combat the dissemination of racist ideologies in the population, particularly among young people.”
Report: Third Opinion on the Russian Federation
Information: Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
News: Protecting minorities in Europe