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End Crackdown on Independent Voices

(Berlin) – Russian authorities have taken punitive action against three local human rights defenders and their organizations in recent days, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities imposed arbitrary, draconian bureaucratic penalties against the…
The Russian flag flies on a courthouse building in St. Petersburg, Russia, March 15 2020.
News

Privacy, Political Targeting Concerns; Lack of Regulation, Data Protection, Oversight

(Moscow) – Russian authorities continue expanding their use of facial recognition technology across the country, with no regulation, oversight, or data protection and against the backdrop of misidentification reports, Human Rights Watch said today.…
A surveillance camera operates in Red square near the Kremlin in Moscow.
News
Sergei Kovalev, a prominent Soviet dissident and Russia’s first human rights ombudsman, died on August 9, 2021, at the age of 91. A talented biophysicist, Kovalev paid a high price for his strong stand on human rights – seven years in a prison camp…
Sergei Kovalev, Moscow, May 2011.
News

“Foreign Agents” Law Leads to Criminal Penalty

Correction: This text has been corrected to reflect the location of the 2019 police raid. (Moscow) – A court in Sochi, Russia, has convicted a prominent human rights defender on criminal charges related to the country’s “foreign agents” law,…
Semyon Simonov
News

UN Should Reauthorize Crucial Help from Neighboring Countries

Millions of Syrians risk losing access to lifesaving aid, including during the Covid-19 pandemic, if Russia vetoes reauthorizing the only remaining UN aid corridor from Turkey into opposition-held northwest Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
UN humanitarian aid trucks enter northwest Syria through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on June 1, 2021
News

Rescind Bills; Repeal Abusive ‘Undesirables’ Law; Reform Extremism Laws

(Moscow) – A group of Russian lawmakers introduced three bills on May 4, 2021 that would add new dangerous tools to the already significant arsenal of legislative weapons for the country’s crackdown on dissenting voices, Human Rights Watch said today…
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin addresses the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, in Moscow, Russia. July 22, 2020.
News

Less Police Violence, But Intimidation, Advanced Roundups

(Moscow) – Russian police detained more than 1,600 people countrywide who were taking part in protests on April 21, 2021, against the treatment of the jailed and critically ill opposition figure Alexey Navalny, Human Rights Watch said today. Police…
A woman argues with a police officer during a protest in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Ulan-Ude, Russia, April 21, 2021.
News

End Unfounded Persecution, Lawsuit Against Kremlin’s Critics

Update 6/9/2021: On June 9, the Moscow City Court ruled in favor of a request by the prosecutor’s office to classify all three groups - the Anti-Corruption Foundation, the Foundation for Protection of Citizens Rights, and Navalny’s headquarters…
Police officers outside the Moscow City Court building. February 02, 2021. Russia, Moscow.
News

Drop Baseless Charges; Investigate Intelligence Service

(Nairobi) – Burundian authorities should drop baseless charges and release eight former Burundian refugees who were forcibly returned from Tanzania in August 2020. On February 26, 2021, the Muha High Court in Bujumbura ruled against their provisional…
Sign outside the Muha High Court in Bujumbura, Burundi.
News

Fines, Smear Campaigns, Potential Blocking for Noncompliance

(Moscow) – Russian authorities are escalating pressure on social media companies, forcing them to censor online content deemed illegal by the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Social media platforms have received warnings and face fines and…
A man wearing a face mask to protect against Covid-19 uses his smartphone among Moscow City skyscrapers in Moscow, Russia, January 11, 2021.
News

Mass Arbitrary Arrests, Police Brutality, Prosecutions

(Moscow, February 1, 2021) – For the second weekend in a row, Russian police forcibly and at times brutally dispersed peaceful protests, arbitrarily detaining more than 5,000 people across Russia, Human Rights Watch said today. That topped the…
A policeman detains a man while protesters try to help him, during a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021.
News

Detention, Intimidation Violate Rights and Abuse Covid-19 Measures

(Moscow) – Russian authorities are harassing, intimidating, and detaining activists and students ahead of protests planned for January 23, 2021 in solidarity with the detained opposition leader Alexey Navalny, Human Rights Watch said today. Russian…
Police officers detaining Alexei Navalny's supporter at Vnukovo airport, Moscow, on January 17, 2021. © 2021 Emin Dzhafarov/Kommersant/Sipa via AP Images
News

Covid-19 Overwhelmed Health Care, Created Opportunities for Repression

(Moscow) – The Covid-19 pandemic challenged Russia’s healthcare system and provided a pretext for Russian authorities to further encroach on fundamental rights, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021. Russia passed controversial…
A police officer pats down a protester detained during a rally calling for the results of a referendum on Constitutional amendments to be cancelled in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
News

Security Council Scrutiny Vital to Justice, Reform

(New York) – The United Nations Security Council should continue to monitor the worrying human rights situation in Burundi with a particular focus on ongoing violations and accountability, Human Rights Watch said today. Security incidents and reports…
File photo showing a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
News

Rescind New Bill; Repeal Abusive ‘Foreign Agents’ Laws

Update (November 30, 2020): This news release was corrected to reflect additional grounds on which a person or organization can be designated a “foreign agent.” (Moscow) –  A new bill introduced in Russia’s parliament on November 18, 2020…
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin addresses the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, in Moscow, Russia. July 22, 2020.
News

Rescind New Bill; Repeal Abusive ‘Foreign Agents’ Law

(Moscow) – A bill introduced in Russia’s parliament on November 10, 2020 would further restrict the ability to function of independent groups that are already suffocating under the restrictive “foreign agents” law and other legislation, Human Rights…
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin addresses the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, in Moscow, Russia. July 22, 2020.
News

Prosecutor Demands Data on Student Protesters, Contact with Foreigners

(Moscow) – Prosecutors have ordered a university in Moscow to submit detailed information on students and faculty who participated in mass protests and had contacts with foreign groups, Human Rights Watch said today. The order is part of an inspection…
Tens of thousands of people rallied in central Moscow Russia, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, for the third consecutive weekend to protest the exclusion of opposition and independent candidates from the Russian capital's city council ballot.
News

Unlawful Attacks on Hospitals, Schools, Markets Forced Idlib Population Out

The Syrian and Russian armed forces’ repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure in Idlib in northwest Syria were apparent war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Dozens of unlawful air…
A woman in a black niqab and face mask walks through a deserted street with a child
News

Authorities Seek to End Three-Month Protests in Khabarovsk

(Moscow) – Police in Khabarovsk, in Russia’s Far East, on October 10, 2020 beat peaceful protesters and arbitrarily detained over 20 people, Human Rights Watch said today. Alexander Prikhodko, born in 1977, who was among those arrested, is under…
Participants in a rally in Khabarovsk, in Russia's Far East, Saturday, to support the former region's governor Sergei Furgal on Oct. 10, 2020. Police detained several dozen protesters in the first crackdown since such rallies started three months ago.