State Department Report on Human Rights Practices in Russia in 2007

 More or less fair treatment of what was happening in Russia last year, I would have added that Russian governmental agencies, like the security forces engage in what could be described as state terrorism in North Caucasus: i.e. use brutal violence to harass general population as a whole (as they increasingly do not trust the non-Russian peoples).

“There were numerous reports of government and societal human rights problems and abuses during the year. Security forces reportedly engaged in killings, torture, abuse, violence, and other brutal or humiliating treatment, often with impunity. Hazing in the armed forces resulted in severe injuries and deaths. Prison conditions were harsh and frequently life threatening; law enforcement was often corrupt; and the executive branch allegedly exerted influence over judicial decisions in some high‑profile cases. The government’s human rights record remained poor in the North Caucasus, where the government in Chechnya forcibly reined in the Islamist insurgency that replaced the separatist insurgency in Chechnya as the main source of conflict. Government security forces were allegedly involved in unlawful killings, politically motivated abductions, and disappearances in Chechnya, Ingushetiya and elsewhere in the North Caucasus. Disappearances and kidnappings in Chechnya declined, as Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov established authoritarian and repressive control over the republic, and federal forces withdrew. Federal and local security forces continued to act with impunity, especially in targeting families of suspected insurgents, and there were allegations that Kadyrov’s private militia engaged in kidnapping and torture. In the neighboring republics of Ingushetiya and Dagestan, there was an increase in violence and abuses committed by security forces.

Government pressure continued to weaken freedom of expression and media independence, particularly of the major television networks. Unresolved killings of journalists remained a problem. The government restricted media freedom through direct ownership of media outlets, influencing the owners of major outlets, and harassing and intimidating journalists into practicing self-censorship. Local governments tried to limit freedom of assembly, and police sometimes used violence to prevent groups from engaging in peaceful protest. The government used the law on extremism to limit freedom of expression and association. Government restrictions on religious groups were a problem in some regions. There were incidents of discrimination, harassment, and violence against religious and ethnic minorities. There were some incidents of anti-Semitism.

Continuing centralization of power in the executive branch, a compliant State Duma, corruption and selectivity in enforcement of the law, media restrictions, and harassment of some NGOs eroded the government’s accountability to its citizens. The government restricted opposition political parties’ ability to participate in the political process. The December elections to the State Duma were marked by problems during the campaign period and on election day, which included abuse of administrative resources, media bias in favor of United Russia and President Putin, harassment of opposition parties, lack of equal opportunity for opposition in registering and conducting campaigns, and ballot fraud. The government restricted the activities of some nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), through selective application of the NGO and other laws, tax auditing, and regulations that increased the administrative burden. Authorities exhibited hostility toward, and sometimes harassed, NGOs involved in human rights monitoring. Violence against women and children and trafficking in persons were problems. Instances of forced labor were also reported. Domestic violence was widespread, and the government reported that approximately 14,000 women were killed in such violence during the year. There was widespread governmental and societal discrimination as well as racially motivated attacks against ethnic minorities and dark-skinned immigrants. There was a steady rise this year in xenophobic, racial, and ethnic attacks and hate crimes, particularly by skinheads, nationalists, and right-wing extremists.

Although there was some improvement in areas of the internal conflict in the North Caucasus, antigovernment forces continued killing and intimidating local officials. There were reports of rebel involvement in terrorist bombings and politically motivated disappearances in Chechnya, Ingushetiya, and elsewhere in the North Caucasus during the year. Some rebels were allegedly involved in kidnapping to raise funds, and there were reports that explosives improvised by rebels led to civilian casualties. Thousands of internally displaced persons(IDPs) continued to live in temporary accommodation centers in the North Caucasus; conditions in those centers reportedly failed to meet international standards.

The government improved its human rights performance in some areas, successfully prosecuting more cases; according to the NGO SOVA Center there has been an increase in convictions for each of the last three years of ethnic, racial, and religious hate crimes and mistreatment. The Defense Ministry took action to reduce the frequency and severity of hazing in the armed forces, which reportedly declined 26 percent in the first three months of the year.”


2 thoughts on “State Department Report on Human Rights Practices in Russia in 2007

  1. Pingback: State Department Report on Human Rights Practices in Russia in 2007 | Department Enalquiler

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