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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

Crimean Tatar Leader Arrested on Bogus Criminal Charges

In today’s Crimea, to be a member of the Crimean Tatar community is to be a target for the authorities. In the early hours of September 4, Russia’s security services raided the house of Nariman Dzhelyal, a deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar…
Nariman Dzhelyal in Crimea in 2019. 
News

Hollow Investigation Means State Evades Accountability

Today, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the case of Natalia Estemirova, star Chechen human rights defender murdered in July 2009. It found that Russia had violated their obligations to protect her right to life by "fail[ing] to investigate…
Natalia Estemoriva in Chechnya, 2007.
News

Kidnapping, Interrogation Exposes Brutal Intent

The Russian LGBT Network has reported that in May 2021, Chechen-speaking men abducted Ibragim Selimkhanov in Moscow and forcibly returned him to Chechnya’s capital Grozny, where authorities interrogated him about gay people in the region. This is the…
Campaigners protest for LGBT rights in Chechnya outside the Russian embassy in London, Britain on June 2, 2017.
News

Idrak Mirzalizade Banned from Russia Over a Joke

In an outrageous move, the Russian Interior Ministry announced today it has banned a stand-up comedian, Idrak Mirzalizade, from Russia for life, over a joke he told which Russian authorities consider insulting to ethnic Russians. Mirzalizade,…
Idrak Mirzalizade Comedian Performing Stand-up
News

Jailed Journalist’s Health Deteriorates After Alleged Torture in Custody

The health of a Ukrainian journalist in custody in Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula is reported to be deteriorating, following alleged torture by Russian security services. Vladyslav Yesypenko, a freelance journalist who covered environmental…
A man holds a placard that says "Journalism is Not a Crime" and "#FreeYesypenko"
News

Gaps in Services Create Risks for Institutionalization, Violate Rights

(Moscow) – The Russian government is not providing adequate resources for home-based services for older people, denying some of them the ability to live independent and dignified lives, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite legislative reform to…
A pensioner carries logs in the courtyard of her wooden house where she opened a private museum of the old quarter.
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

Further Independent Voices Silenced

With Russia’s September 19 parliamentary elections fast approaching, every day begins with new reports of arbitrary arrests, interrogations, and other attacks on critical voices. Today there were three new victims of the Kremlin’s war against free…
A smart phone user reads MBKh Media news site, one of three news outlets whose websites were blocked on August 4, 2021.
News

Authorities Use "Undesirables" Law against Team 29

On July 18, Team 29, a leading association of Russian human rights lawyers, announced it was shutting down because its members, clients, and supporters faced imminent risk of prosecution. Several days earlier, the state media and communications…
Russian lawyer Ivan Pavlov, center, walks to attend a court session after speaking to the media at Moscow Court, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. 
News

Latest Attack in a Growing Crackdown on Free Expression

Russian authorities have just delivered another blow to independent media in the country. On July 15, the prosecutor general’s office blacklisted Project Media Inc. as an “undesirable foreign organization,” banning it in Russia and making it unlawful…
Roman Badanin, chief editor of Project, October 2016.
News

Governments Should Reject Costly, Harmful Policy for Refugees, Asylum Seekers

(Sydney) – Other governments should reject Australia’s abusive and costly offshore processing of refugees and asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch said today. July 19, 2021 is the eighth anniversary of the Australian government’s resumption of its…
Asylum seekers and human rights activists protest against the detention of refugees amid the Covid-19 crisis in Brisbane.
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

VkusVill Pulls Ad Featuring Lesbian Customers

Last week, VkusVill, a prominent Russian food market chain, ran an online advertisement entitled “Family Happiness Recipe” that featured, among others, a family that included several lesbian women. In Russia, where discrimination against lesbian, gay…
A VkusVill’s market in central Moscow, Russia on July 7th, 2021.
News

Discrimination Harms Parents and Children

In a victory for a transgender parent’s right to maintain contact with her children, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on July 6 that Russia’s denial of her visitation violated her rights to family life and freedom from discrimination. The…
Activists participate in the St Petersburg LGBT Pride march on August 12, 2017.
News

Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding Children’s Rights and Alternative Care June 30, 2021 Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the Committee on the Rights of the Child ahead of its upcoming Day…
News

Putin’s Blessing Sends Grim Signal about Justice in Chechnya

President Putin has told the governor of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, that he should run for another term in the September regional elections. “With your personal participation, immediate and at times direct, Chechnya became one of the safest regions in…
People hold portraits of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov during a rally marking National Unity Day in Grozny, southern Russia, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.
News

Attacks on Russian Civic Groups, Media, Critics Need EU’s Attention, Action

EU-Russia relations will be on the agenda of the European Council, which defines the European Union’s political priorities, when it meets on 24-25 June. It’s an important time for the EU to call out the Kremlin for human rights violations committed in…
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell at a news conference unveiling a report on proposals for the EU stance on Russia. Brussels, Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
News

While most eyes were on Geneva, the Duma intensified its crackdown on dissent.

At his post-summit news conference on Wednesday President Putin defended Russia’s repressive laws that punish dissent.  With most eyes on Geneva, the Duma made one of those laws a lot harsher. It amended the criminal code to open the…
Anastasia Shevchenko and Mikhail Iosilevich. Both have been prosecuted under Russia’s law on “undesirable” foreign organizations. 
News

Moscow Should Ensure Khalimat Taramova’s Freedom, Safety

For about six months before 22-year-old Khalimat Taramova fled Chechnya on June 4, her family kept the young woman, who identifies as bisexual, under lock and key. They beat and verbally abused her and forced her to undergo so-called conversion…
Khalimat Taramova Freedom