Russia expels international human rights groups


Under mounting international pressure for reported war crimes, Russia on Friday forced the closure of the offices of several human rights groups, CNN reported.

Driving the news: The Russian Justice Ministry canceled the registrations of 15 offices belonging to foreign NGOs and international aid organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

  • This is the latest move by Russia to undermine organizations in its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
  • The groups were “expelled after being found guilty of violating the current legislation of the Russian Federation,” the ministry said in a statement, according to CNN.
  • The statement did not specify the alleged violations.

Background: Earlier this week, 93 countries voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council following reported atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine.

  • It was the first time that a permanent member of the UN Security Council had been suspended from the body.

What they say : The leaders of the expelled organizations condemned this decision and pledged to continue their efforts.

  • “The closure of Amnesty in Russia is just the latest in a long list of organizations sanctioned for standing up for human rights and speaking the truth to the Russian authorities,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, in a press release.
  • She added: “In a country where dozens of activists and dissidents have been imprisoned, killed or exiled, where independent media have been vilified, blocked or forced into self-censorship, and where civil society organizations have been banned or liquidated, you must be doing something right if the Kremlin is trying to silence you.”

State of play: Human Rights Watch has documented several allegations of war crimes committed by Russian troops during the occupation of Ukrainian regions, including executions, rapes, and threats of violence against civilians.

  • “Forcing us to close our office strengthens our resolve to speak out against Russia’s turn toward authoritarianism,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “We will continue to work until the day the Russian government respects the rights of its people.”

Go further: UN suspends Russia from Human Rights Council


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