On March 5, High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation Tatiana Moskalkova participated in the session of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) dedicated to protection of women’s rights.
During the event, ombudsmen from around the world shared their best practices in the protection of women’s rights and also discussed existing problematic issues and their solutions.
Speech of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation:
Dear friends, colleagues!
From the end of the last century and through the present, significant progress in the field of the protection of women’s rights has been taking place all over the world:
— in 1979, the UN Convention on the «Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women» was adopted, which is called the «International Bill of Women’s Rights»;
— The Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, adopted at the 2nd UN World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 proclaimed the rights of women as an integral part of human rights;
— in 2000, the resolution of the UN General Assembly established the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
— On September 25, 2015, the UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the fifth goal of which is directed to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
The Russian Federation is no exception, so I would like to share our positive developments with you.
By order of the Government of the Russian Federation of March 8, 2017, the National Action Strategy for Women for 2017–2022 was approved. In 2018, an Action Plan for the implementation of its first phase was approved.
Triennially the Eurasian Women’s Forum is held in Russia under the auspices of the Chairperson of the upper chamber of Parliament, which is truly the largest authoritative international forum for discussing the role of women in modern society. In 2018, over 1000 women leaders from more than 110 countries of the world, as well as representatives of leading international organizations, gathered at the forum. At the same time, for the first time in Russia, the «Women’s Twenty» (W20) gathered.
Nevertheless, the problem of violations of women’s rights remains relevant today, this is evidenced by the appeals coming to me. In 2018 there were 440 of them.
They mainly concerned the issues of protection of family, maternity, fatherhood and childhood as well as employment.
However, apart from this, violence against women and domestic violence in particular is an extremely painful problem.
Since this problem is latent all over the world, we do an independent monitoring and visit crisis centers that help women and children.
According to the information provided, during one of the visits from 2014 to 2018, almost 1,300 people (600 women and 700 children) received asylum in one of the Crisis Centers. Mostly women appealed due to domestic violence — 97% (physical — 62%, economic and psychological — 35%).
The staff of the Crisis Center noted that repeated appeals to bring the perpetrators to justice remain without proper attention of police.
Russia has not yet adopted a law on combating domestic violence and has not ratified the Istanbul Convention. In this regard, at the beginning of this year together with the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Labor of Russia we launched a joint project aimed on realization of the National Strategy for women, one of directions of which focuses on maintenance and prevention of social deprivation of women and violence against them. It is intended for 18 months, and among the events, despite others, there will be round tables with the development of specific recommendations to state authorities, as well as analysis of the legislation of foreign countries, which may help to develop a corresponding bill in Russia.
Another aspect of the social deprivation of women is problem of lack of special standards of the rights of women who got imprisoned.
By January 1, 2019, prison institutions contained 563 166 people, including 45 143 women. Out of 3 933 complaints about the observance of human rights in places of detention, 322 complaints regarded women (8.2%).
The main categories of complaints related to conditions of detention, medical care, employment, exemption from serving a sentence, granting a delay in its execution, declaration of amnesty.
We took part in the development of the Federal Law which amended the Penal Code of the Russian Federation in order to protect the rights of children whose parents serve custodial sentence, and this law established a significant number of preferences for women serving sentences in places of detention.
Many appeals contained a request for transfer to another correctional institution closer to the family. Due to the lack of the necessary number of colonies, women are subjected by prison transfer over long distances and are unable to communicate with relatives and friends. On this issue, together with the Ministry of Justice, we have developed a draft law, regulating the issues of transferring and serving the sentence of imprisonment near the place of residence.
I firmly believe that today we all should think about the development and implementation of measures aimed at humanizing of the conditions concerning detention of women. For women, for example, there should not be the same harsh punishments as for men; a woman should be allowed to visit her child outside the colony if her characteristic is positive.
I consider it extremely important that, as part of our joint activities, we have the opportunity to share experiences that can be useful for improving the system of protection of rights and freedoms, and in particular, women in our countries.