Russian authorities have taken punitive action against three local human rights defenders and their organizations in recent days, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities imposed arbitrary, draconian bureaucratic penalties against the groups, including through the “undesirable foreign organizations” law in one case.
Two of the groups have strong records of success in winning cases against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of victims of torture and other grave human rights violations, and the third defends the rights of migrants in Russia. The moves come amid a government crackdown on independent voices in the country.
“Russian authorities have amassed a wide array of tools to intimidate, marginalize, and punish human rights defenders,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Whether the moves against these three groups are coordinated or not, they are certainly consistent with the authorities’ wider efforts to stifle effective critics, in particular groups that work to rectify human rights abuses.”