UN condemns the arrests of 1,800 anti-war protesters in Russia
Following a number of “arbitrary arrests” in Russia for protesting the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations called for the release of those detained immediately.
In a statement to reporters in Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the United Nations Human Rights Office, said: “Arresting individuals for exercising their rights to freedom of expression or a peaceful assembly constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty,”
It was known by the agency that “more than 1,800 demonstrators were apparently detained,” she said. It is unknown if any have been published at this time.”
After Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected Western warnings to launch a full-scale land invasion and air attack on Ukraine, which immediately took hundreds of lives and forced at least 100,000 people from their homes, she made her statement the next day.
Protesters took to the streets in cities all around the globe, including Russia, to voice their opposition.
According to an independent monitor, police arrested demonstrators in 51 places throughout Russia as part of a crackdown on dissent after warnings from authorities against demonstrating.
“We call on the authorities to ensure the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained for exercising these rights,” Shamdasani said.
UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned Thursday that the Russian invasion “clearly violates international law and puts at risk countless civilian lives.”
“It must immediately be halted,” she said.
She said her office would continue to closely monitor the situation and warned that “an information war is also underway.”
“It is particularly crucial at this time that we continue to closely monitor and attempt to verify reports of human rights violations, including civilian casualties, damage to civilian objects, including critical infrastructure, and other impact on human rights on the ground.”