On March 28, 2018, an attack has been carried out against Sirazhutdin Datsiyev, head of the Human Rights Centre “Memorial” office in Makhachkala (Dagestan). HRC “Memorial” believes that it was related to Datsiyev’s professional activities as a human rights activist.
Since the beginning of 2018 this is yet another case of aggression and persecution of human rights activists in the Caucasus region. Earlier, in January 2018, the car belonging to the office of HRC “Memorial” in Makhachkala was set on fire, and the mobile number of the organization received numerous threats aimed against its employees. Not long before these last incidents in Dagestan, HRC “Memorial” had its office set on fire in Nazran (Ingushetia), and the head of the Chechen representative office of the HRC “Memorial” Oyub Titiyev was charged with illegal purchase and possession of drugs. Since the detention of Oyub Titiyev investigative actions and court proceedings have been carried out with numerous violations, which were reported by human rights defenders and journalists. However, instead of putting an end to this pressure and fabrication of criminal cases, instead of bringing those responsible for this to justice, the campaign of persecution of the HRC “Memorial” is only gaining momentum.
Russia should fulfill its international obligations to promote and protect human rights, including protection of the human rights defenders themselves. It should observe the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998). Marking the 20th anniversary of the Declaration, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders has prepared a special concept for the increase of the visibility of human rights defenders.