EU countries to ask Human Rights Council to appoint special rapporteur on Russia

Dmitry Reznikov holds a blank piece of paper with eight asterisks that could have been interpreted as standing for "No to war" in Russian, is detained in Moscow, Russia, 13 March, 2022. He was found guilty of discrediting the armed forces and fined $618. (Credit: Keystone/SOTA via AP)

All countries of the European Union, except for Hungary, have agreed to table the proposal, diplomatic sources told AFP.

Twenty-six EU countries agreed on Thursday to ask the Human Rights Council to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor the human rights situation in Russia, according to reports by the French news agency shared by other media.

Since the beginning of the war in February, Moscow has launched a crackdown inside the country on those who oppose the invasion of Ukraine and has passed harsh laws against anti-war speech.

A court in Moscow recently stripped independent news outlet Novaya Gazeta of its media licence, a move slammed by the UN high commissioner for human rights.

Calls for a UN human rights expert on Russia grew at the Council’s last meeting but failed to gain enough traction.

The draft text would be presented by Luxembourg before the UN rights body, as it meets this month in Geneva. The proposal is likely to face opposition from Russia and its allies, who could call for a vote to try to defeat the resolution.