Russia has signaled closure of U.N. rights office in Moscow: Zeid

United Nations (U.N.) High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein arrives for the 31st session of the Human Rights Council at the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, February 29, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations human rights chief said on Thursday that the Russian government had indicated it would close his Moscow office, and he decried what he called the shrinking space for dissent.

In a speech, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva: “I am concerned about signals received from the government regarding its intention to close our presence in Moscow.”

More cooperation with his office, rather than less, was needed “on the subject of the shrinking space for human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations”, Zeid said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Tom Miles