Russia: Minority Groups

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 18th September 2020.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has held with the Russian Government regarding the treatment of minority groups in Russia; whether he has made representations regarding the treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses to his Russian counterpart; and what further steps he is taking to work with international partners to highlight the treatment of minority groups in Russia.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia, including the treatment of minority groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses, who are being imprisoned or detained for practicing their faith.?The UK Government has raised our concerns about the human rights situation repeatedly with the Russian Government at all?levels and?has made clear that Russia must abide by its international human rights obligations.?I spoke about this with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Titov?on 17 June 2020?and?the British Embassy in Moscow continues?to raise our?concern, including at Ambassadorial level,?with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On 12 March and 23 July 2020, the UK's delegation to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna expressed our concern at?the?persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. We have called repeatedly for Russia to end this persecution and to fulfil its international obligations, including respect for freedom of religion and belief. The FCDO remains in regular contact with representatives of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the UK and Russia.

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