International Rights Groups on Russia
'RUSSIAN FEDERATION: FURTHER INFORMATION: NEWSPAPER THREATENED FOR REPORTS ON ABDUCTIONS,' Amnesty International, 18 April 2017
'Russian journalist flees Moscow following threats,' Committee to Protect Journalists, 17 April 2017
'Chechen official and preachers threaten Novaya Gazeta journalists,' Committee to Protect Journalists, 14 April 2017
'Russia: Chechen Officials and Clerics Threaten Journalists. Fear of Retaliation for Article Exposing Anti-Gay Abuse Campaign,' Human Rights Watch, 17 April 2017
13 April 2017
Today, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that Russia’s handling of the 2004 Beslan School Siege led to mass violations of the right to life of the hostages, victims and their families. On 1 September 2004, School No. 1, the largest school in Beslan, was attacked by Chechen separatists who held 1128 people (886 children) hostage in the school for three days. The siege and ensuing intense assault by the security forces, using tanks and flamethrowers, resulted in 331 deaths, including 186 children, and countless injuries.
The European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), based at Middlesex University, and Memorial Human Rights Centre (Moscow) represent 346 of the 409 victims or their relatives.
The Court’s strongly-worded judgment found that Russia had violated the right to life of the victims and their family members on several counts:
· the authorities failed to take preventative security measures given that there was prior knowledge that an attack was planned in the area at an educational institution;
· the investigation into the siege failed to establish whether the force used by the State was justified;
· there were serious shortcomings in the planning and control of the security operation; and
· the security forces used disproportionately powerful and indiscriminate weapons (including tank cannon, grenade launchers and flame-throwers), resulting in hundreds of fatalities and injuries.
The applicants in this case were awarded a total of €2,933,000.
Zarina Dzampayeva, who was eight years old at the time of the siege, said after the judgment:
“The Court is quite right about Russia…that it should take measures [to address the situation]. There is no family in Beslan which hasn’t been impacted. We as a community became closer to each other because we had a common problem… I was too young, so maybe I didn’t understand [what was happening]. I remember that there was a total lack of water, and we wanted to drink so much.”
Professor Philip Leach, Director of EHRAC, says:
“This ground-breaking judgment provides a significant measure of justice for the families, after so many years. It establishes the extent of the Russian authorities’ responsibility for severe loss of life during the Beslan School Siege, but also calls for important lessons to be learned, so that the mistakes made at Beslan are not repeated.”
Lord Frank Judd, a former Rapporteur on Chechnya for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, says:
“The extreme nature of the attack on schoolchildren in Beslan is burnt into Russia's national consciousness. This case is just as relevant today given the continuing threat of terror attacks in Russia and across the world. The Russian state has refused to acknowledge its role in this terrible loss of life and today’s judgment is a pivotal moment in holding Russia to account.”
For more details contact: Sabrina Vashisht (PR and Development Officer, EHRAC) by email on email@example.com or by phone on +44 208 411 4469
'Chechnya: Stop Abducting and Killing Gay Men,' Amnesty International, 12 April 2017
Stonewall: "Stonewall is extremely concerned by recent reports that men believed to be gay or bi are being abducted, tortured or killed in the Russian republic of Chechnya"
Sara Hall, 'The situation in Chechnya,' Stonewall, 5 April 2017.
Amnesty International: USA/Russia diplomatic meeting must tackle deplorable human rights record at home and abroad
'USA/Russia: Diplomatic meeting must tackle deplorable human rights record at home and abroad,' Amnesty International, 11 April 2017
Human Rights Watch: 'Russia Should Ensure Syrian Cooperation [in investigation into chemical attack] and Respect Findings'
'Putin Calls for Investigations of Chemical Attack in Syria. Russia Should Ensure Syrian Cooperation and Respect Findings,' Human Rights Watch, 11 April 2017
Human Rights Watch: As of April 10, 2017, the official list of active “foreign agents” consisted of 98 groups
'Russia: Government vs. Rights Groups. The Battle Chronicle,' Human Rights Watch, 10 April 2017
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