Memorial: Kidnappings in North Caucasus Go Unsolved and Unpunished

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 21

Memorial said in a report released May 26 on the situation in the North Caucasus that more than 3,000 people have been kidnapped or disappeared without a trace in the region since 2000. According to the Russian human rights group, most of the abductions and disappearances have taken place in Chechnya, the victims’ fate remains unknown and no one has been held responsible for the crimes.

According to Memorial, the North Caucasus remains one of Russia’s worst off regions in terms of human rights, as a result of ongoing armed conflict, corruption, official lawlessness and the actions of the security forces in the region, which the report calls a “policy of state terrorism.” Memorial says the number of reports of torture being used in the North Caucasus is growing, and the group is calling on the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the actions of law enforcement and security structures in the region. The Memorial report also calls for representatives of international humanitarian groups, including the Red Cross, to be allowed into detention centers in the North Caucasus.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International says in a new report that human rights are routinely violated in Russia, with abductions of civilians continuing in Chechnya and police regularly violating basic constitutional rights. As The Associated Press reported on May 28, the Amnesty report on Russia is part of a larger publication warning that the global financial crisis has led cash-strapped governments to crack down on people protesting against poverty and unemployment.