HRW claims deterioration of human rights situation in Northern Caucasus

In 2016, Russia stepped up the persecution against dissidents and tightened the control over freedom of expression and assembly. In Northern Caucasus, Salafi communities, human rights defenders and journalists found themselves under severe pressure of the authorities. This was declared by the report prepared by the international human rights organization "Human Rights Watch" (HRW).

Thus, according to the authors of the HRW report, in Russia, the authorities "recognized as 'foreign agents' dozens of NGOs, including leading human rights groups and independent analytical centres." "In the period of 2012-2016, at least 30 groups were closed," notes the HRW report.

The authors of the HRW report also mentions the case against human rights defender Valentina Cherevatenko, the elimination of inter-regional association of human rights associations "Agora", and fines for lack of a "foreign agent" mark in publications, imposed, in particular, on the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial".

According to the authors of the HRW report, Northern Caucasus faced continued armed confrontation between the Islamist armed underground and law enforcers, in particular, in Dagestan.

"In Dagestan, the Salafi communities were under severe pressure of the authorities," the HRW report states.

A similar situation took place in Chechnya, where Ramzan Kadyrov openly declared that there was no place for Salafis in the republic.

The author of the HRW report also mentions an attack on a bus with journalists on the border between Ingushetia and Chechnya in March 2016 and an attack on the leader of the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) of Russian human rights organizations in Chechnya.

The HRW report also mentions the case of several female activists wearing T-shirts with inscription: "Putin is an executioner of Beslan", who were detained in North Ossetia during a memorial ceremony held in memory of victims of Beslan killed on September 1, 2004.
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