USCIRF Releases Report on “Unruly State of Law” in Russia
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released a policy brief, “Russia: Unruly State of Law.”
This policy brief, which analyzes the state of religious freedom and related rights in Russia, reflects USCIRF’s long-standing focus on that country and the findings from the Commission’s latest visit in late September 2012.
According to the report, Russia is now a police state. The Kremlin has not just passed a set of bad new laws in 2012, it has changed the Russian political system.
Overall, religious freedom conditions in Russia continue to deteriorate. Chronic serious problems highlighted in previous USCIRF reports remain, including the application of the religion law and the use of the anti-extremism law against peaceful religious groups and individuals. USCIRF is concerned by the arsenal of new laws against civil society passed by the Putin administration in 2012.
The draft blasphemy bill before the Duma, if passed in the spring of 2013, would further curtail the freedoms of religion, belief and expression.
The report confirms that Russia’s most severe human rights abuses occur in the North Caucasus, where violators operate with almost total impunity. [Russian occupied] Chechnya’s Kremlin-appointed president, Ramzan Kadyrov, condones or oversees mass violations of human rights, including religious freedom. He distorts Chechen Sufi traditions to justify his rule, instituted a repressive state based on his religious views, and ordered the wearing of the hijab. At least nine women were killed for “immodest behavior” since 2008, with Kadyrov praising the murders and the killers did not stand trial. Kadyrov also stands accused of involvement in murders, torture, and disappearances of political opponents and human rights activists in Russia and abroad. To date, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that the ECHR has issued over 210 rulings against Russia for major human rights violations during its armed counterinsurgency campaign in Chechnya.
On the other hand, USCIRF asked the U.S. government once again that “[pro-Russian] Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov for inclusion in the Politically Exposed Persons list of government officials whose bank assets should be frozen due to their corrupt practices and gross human rights violations”.
The entire report is available HERE.