Russia has ratified the following documents:
  • Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
  • International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The following documents further define the obligations of Russia:
  • Beijing +5: Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Beijing Platform for Action
  • Cairo Programme of Action
  • UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The documents listed above require Russia to protect and promote the following rights:

Right to development
Right to education
Right to equal protection of the law
Right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment
Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Right to housing
Right to just and favorable work conditions
Right to liberty and security of the person
Right to life and survival
Right to marry and found a family
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Right to private and family life
Right to receive and impart information
Right to the benefits of scientific progress

Constitutional Protection of Rights

The Constitution of Russia can be viewed at http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/russian/const/constit.html

The Constitution of Russia is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights.

The Constitution enables Russia to translate international agreements into domestic law, and obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.

The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create the economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.

Right to a clean environment (art. 42)
Right to education (art. 43)
Right to equal access to state services (art. 32)
Right to the equal protection of the laws (art. 19)
Right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (art. 21)
Right to freedom of association (art. 30)
Right to freedom of enterprise (art. 34)
Right to freedom of movement (art. 27)
Right to health (art. 41)
Right to housing (art. 40)
Right to inherit (art. 35)
Right to liberty (art. 22(1))
Right to life (art. 20)
Right to just and favorable work conditions (art. 37)
Right to privacy (art. 23)
Right to non discrimination on grounds of race (art. 19)
Right to non discrimination on grounds of sex (art. 19)
Right to own private property (art. 35)
Right to participate in the affairs of the state (art. 32)
Right to receive and impart information (art. 29)
Right to seek and obtain redress for violations in a court of law (art. 46)
Right to social security (art. 39)
Right to work (art. 37)

The Constitution includes other provisions that promote and protect rights relevant for good sexual and reproductive health.

The Constitution obliges Russia to:

  • provide support to the family, motherhood, and childhood (art. 38)
  • provide medical assistance through state and municipal health care institutions free of charge, "with the money from the relevant budget, insurance payments and other revenues" (art. 41)
  • finance federal health care and health building programs (art. 41)
  • take measures to develop state, municipal, and private health care systems (art. 41)
  • encourage activities contributing to strengthening health (art. 41)
  • prohibit and punish "facts and circumstances posing hazards to human life and health" (art. 41)
  • provide compensation for "facts and circumstances posing hazards to human health and life," as well as for damage caused to health due to environmental violations (art. 42)
  • ensure equal access to state services (art. 32(4))

The Constitution also provides for the accountability of the government in case of "facts and circumstances posing hazards to human life and health" (art. 41(3)).

Why is that important? It is the value added of human rights to public health to make public authorities accountable for failing to ensure rights. Accountability is also a mechanism to ensure implementation of policies and laws, including those adopted to further individual rights. For additional information or research please contact the Human Rights Working Group.

However, the Constitution allows restrictions to rights in certain cases.

The protection of public health may constitute grounds for proportionate restrictions to rights (art. 55).
What do restrictions entail? By authorizing restrictions to rights, it is acknowledged that Russia may be confronted with situations that will entail an infringement on rights. In such situations, Russia may take measures to address a public health problem without violating its own constitution. Restrictions are authorized under international law if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. the restriction is provided for and carried out in accordance with the law
  2. the restriction is in the interest of a legitimate objective of general interest (e.g., the protection of public health)
  3. the restriction is strictly necessary in a democratic society to achieve the objective
  4. there are no less restrictive means available to reach the same objective
  5. the restriction is not drafted or imposed arbitrarily, i.e. in an unreasonable or otherwise discriminatory manner