Posts Tagged ‘Chechen Republic’

FIFA expresses concern about Chechen human rights defender, but to whom?

May 24, 2018

In less than a month, millions of people will turn their eyes upon Russia as the 2018 Football World Cup kicks off. On 23 May 2018, the NGO Civil Rights Defenders published FIFA’s reply to an open letter it and and 13 other international and Russian human rights groups sent to FIFA, urging the association to start engaging with the Russian authorities on the human rights crisis in Chechnya, especially the case of Oyub Titiev [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/01/15/chechen-human-rights-defender-oyub-titiev-arrested-on-trumped-up-charges/].

 

Oyub Titiev in Memorial’s local office in Grozny, Chechnya. In the background a portrait of his murdered colleague, Natalia Estemirova.

[In January 2018, Chechen authorities started a campaign against the leading Russian human rights organisation Memorial, by jailing prominent human rights defender and head of Memorial’s local office, Oyub Titiev, on fabricated charges. In February, it was announced that the capital of Chechnya, Grozny, was confirmed by FIFA as the team base for Egypt.]

Such engagement is consistent with FIFA’s responsibility to respect human rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” the letter addressed to Mr. Infantino, President of FIFA, read. “It is also consistent with the commitment in article 3 of FIFA’s statutes to promote the protection of international human rights, and would demonstrate determination to implement its new Human Rights Policy”. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/02/02/fifa-governance-committee-starts-dealing-with-a-human-rights-policy/]

FIFA has now replied (follow link for full text) to the letter, thanking the rights groups for raising concern about the detention of Oyub Titiev: “… FIFA values the important work done by human rights defenders such as Mr. Titiev and yourselves and is, in accordance with paragraph 11 of its human rights policy, committed to respect and help protect the rights of everyone who is working to advance human rights in relation to FIFA’s activities.” 

This is quite a change from the traditional view that politics and sport have nothing to do with each other, but it does not say WHAT and with WHOM in Russia FIFA has taken up the case. That will probably remain confidential.

Chechen President Kadyrov tries to intimidate Joint Mobile Group

March 6, 2014

Igor Kalyapin – as President of the Joint Mobile Group [JMG] – is recipient of the 2013 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders [http://www.martinennalsaward.org which contains an excellent short film on his work] as well as the 2011 Front Line Defenders new MEA_logo with textFrontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedAward [http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/16876].   In spite of this, he is continually subjected to a defamation campaign, the most recent incident taking place on 25 February 2014, at a meeting of the Civil Chamber of the Chechen Republic, where the Head of the Republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, accused Igor Kalyapin of being a “traitor of the nation” and a man who defends “bandits and drug addicts” and “promotes his personal interests”.

On 25 February 2014, Ramzan Kadyrov further accused the human rights defender of using human rights work to make a career. Kadyrov stated that there are ‘real’ human rights defenders in Chechnya and that the Republic does not need ‘Kalyapins’. This statement was broadcast by the state TV channel Vainakh. Kadyrov went on to list cases which are being investigated by Igor Kalyapin and the JMG (such as Islam Umarpashaev and Ruslan Kutaev – more information on these cases on: http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/.)