Conflict & Justice

Russia denies visa

KR says his denial had never happened before, nor to anybody at all from Human Rights Watch since Soviet days, but suddenly the Russian government did not want me there. (Could it because of the title of your report?) That didn't help and the Russian government has not shut down civil society, they've just targeted the most outspoken and critical groups and shut them down through bureaucracy, groups that deal with Chechnya, human rights or free expression, anything that tries to mobilize discontent with the government. (Give me an example of how groups are choking on bureaucracy). Well especially smaller organizations, if an inspector comes in they'll have to spend days on paperwork. If the inspector finds a violation which is often a case, they have to go to court. (How many NGOs are there operating in Russia?) 240,000 and I should stress most are doing fine. (How many have been reported or shut down?) Few very have been shut down, but upwards of 20% of human rights groups are facing inspection. The most severe abuses have been in Chechnya where there are still disappearances and abuses. The war there today is less intense but there are still abuses. (Are there NGOs asking the Russian government to account for its actions there?) In addition to us, there are some brave Russian groups working on Chechnya, which invites retaliation.