In a new report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses the leadership of Russia’s Chechnya region of collectively punishing family members of anti-government rebels by burning down their homes and other tactics.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov prides himself on having stabilised his mainly Muslim Caucasus region where federal forces have fought two wars against pro-independence rebels since the mid-1990s.
But critics say the relative stability was achieved by tough methods with numerous human rights violations. They say many rebels were flushed out of Chechnya, fanning insurgency in neighbouring Dagestan and Ingushetia.
“Russia has said its “counter-terrorism operation” in Chechnya is over, but human rights violations there certainly are not,” said Tanya Lokshina, deputy director of HRW’s Russia office, presenting the 54-page report.