High Commissioner warns against mass human rights violations if draft law on legal regulation of use of force by penitentiary staff is to be adopted

03 June 2015

On 3 June, High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation Ella Pamfilova addressed Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Sergei Naryshkin with a request to speak to the deputies of the Lower House of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, to persuade them to withdraw draft law № 802242–6, since its adoption could lead to severe or mass violations of human rights.

The High Commissioner expresses serious concern over frequent reports on excessive use of physical force by the penitentiary system staff against individuals held in detention.

Ms Pamfilova states that although there is no doubt that correctional officers should have gas guns, firearms and other special equipment in their possession, its use should be strictly regulated and degree of force used shall be the minimum required to control the situation or behavior, since the use of physical force and special equipment by the penitentiary system staff in some cases lead to fatalities among the inmates.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation draws attention to the fact that the draft law was suspended after the High Commissioner’s request to the Chairman of the Russian Government at the end of 2014, while the Ministry of Justice was instructed to consider the High Commissioner’s comments and proposals on the draft law.

However, the draft law № 802242–6 On Amendments to the Law of the Russian Federation On Facilities and Bodies Executing Penal Punishments in the Form of Deprivation of Liberty and to the Federal Law On Custody of People Suspected or Accused of Committing Crimes, submitted to the State Duma for adoption by now, does not contain any amendments proposed by the High Commissioner.

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