Freedom of association
On January 2020, President Putin called for amending the Russian Constitution to establish its precedence over supranational judicial bodies, meaning, primarily, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Interestingly, this was not a new idea: Russian legal experts who for many years have been suggesting such an amendment to the Constitution had referred to German precedent.
Under the European Convention on Human Rights, states must guarantee free and open debates about the past. Yet, with the rise of memory laws, the right to free expression has been endangered.
In August 2019, several international organisations received a request to send observers to monitor elections in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But the attempt to involve international observers in these elections ended in failure: international observation of the nationwide single voting day on 8 September, 2019, was not implemented.
Russia still has no domestic violence legislation. Will the case of the Khachaturian sisters, three girls who have been subjected to abuse by their father for many years, become a turning point in the adoption of such a law?
What is the internet? A means or an end? How do we define the right to access the internet? Is it an autonomous human right, or does it augment other rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights?
What is the future of Russian citizens extradited from EU countries to their homeland? According to the European Convention on Human Rights and European human rights case law, a country attempting to extradite an accused person must assess the risks that the person may face. But do the European courts assess these risks correctly?
Migration in today's world is a complex phenomenon that can have both positive and negative impact: a smart and flexible migration policy can help countries strengthen their social, economic and political ties and open up new sources of capital and investment. In contrast, an irrational and excessively restrictive migration policy can cause imbalances in the labour market and income inequalities between immigrants and local residents, potentially leading to high levels of social tension.
What will psychiatry of the future look like and how does respecting human rights affect the mental health of citizens? Claudia Marinetti, director of the largest European mental health organisation, talks about this (and much more).
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced the COVID-19 to be a pandemic. Most countries including Russia have taken measures to combat coronavirus, and some of these measures have also affected the judicial system. But are they consistent with the country's fair trial obligations under international law?
More than one million people currently live with HIV in Russia. Having long moved beyond the so-called risk groups, the virus is rapidly spreading in the general population. However, with the right treatment, HIV is a chronic manageable disease which cannot be transmitted via casual contact. Yet despite the increasing availability of current and accurate information about HIV, with large-scale awareness campaigns running from time to time across the country, HIV stigma and discrimination persist.
We know little about the lives of convicted women in Russia as a whole, and even less about the lives of convicted women in the North Caucasus. Crime is considered a huge disgrace for families in the region, and so the difficulties faced by ex-convicts are not discussed.
The EU-Russia Legal Dialogue symposium was held in Berlin on October 31–November 2, 2019. Its theme was “The Role of Civil Society in the Council of Europe: Strengthening Mechanisms to Address Current Challenges in Human Rights and the Rule of Law.” Lawyers and representatives of NGOs discussed how to interact with the Council of Europe in the current political conjuncture.