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Chechnya: Rights group's office destroyed, accused of demonizing government

This statement was originally published on on 3 June 2015.

Three leading international rights groups, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Front Line Defenders, issued a joint statement today calling on Russia to protect human rights defenders in Chechnya, and stop any harassment and intimidation by officials.

On the morning of June 3, 2015, an aggressive mob smashed a car belonging to the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) of human rights organizations in Chechnya and broke into the group's office in Grozny, destroying it and its contents. In December 2014, unidentified people torched the group's office, but the government has not carried out an effective investigation of that attack. JMG restored the office, which had been fully destroyed in the fire.

Chechnya's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, accused the human rights defenders of conspiring to destroy their own office to demonize the government and attract attention of foreign media and donor organizations.

“This is the second time in six months that the office of the Joint Mobile Group in Chechnya has been destroyed, and the groups' staff are in extreme danger,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “There is little doubt that the local authorities are doing nothing to protect these courageous human rights defenders and would rather see them leave Chechnya, leaving victims of abuses without protection.”

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Chechnya: New attack against human rights group

    “Russian federal authorities should conduct a full and transparent investigation of both incidents and immediately press Chechen authorities to ensure safety of the Committee Against Torture and other human rights groups in Chechnya.”

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