Five months ago the human rights community in Russia and beyond lost a friend and colleague, Natalya Estemirova, Memorial's lead researcher in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation. After her murder on July 15, 2009, Memorial suspended its work in the republic. Since that time, the authorities in Chechnya have continued to intimidate and persecute human rights defenders and those who seek justice for abuses; several were forced to leave Russia due to threats to their lives.
As a result, victims of human rights violations in Chechnya have practically nowhere to turn.
The North Caucasus remains one of Russia's least prosperous regions in the field of human rights. Although the situation in various republics and regions of the North Caucasus differs remarkably, some general factors, spread over a large territory of the North Caucasus adversely influence the development of the situation. These are:
− the ongoing fighting. Right now armed underground forces, using terroristic methods, oppose the Russian state on the North Caucasus.
The Memorial Human Rights Center continues its work in the North Caucasus. We offer you here a new issue of our regular bulletin containing a brief description of the key events featured in our news section over the three winter months of 2008 and a few examples of our analysis of the development of the situation in the region. This bulletin contains materials collected by the Memorial Human Rights Center staff working in the North Caucasus and published on the Memorial website as well as media and news agencies reports.
North Caucasus, June 2009: a targeted blow
The previous sixth report on the situation of Chechens in Russia covered events through October 2007. There has long been plenty of material for preparing the next yearly report. However, when compiling it we face the problem of safety both for those whose destinies we describe and of those officers of our organization who work in Chechnya.
On April 6, 2009 refugees from Chechen Republic appealed with the written application to the representative office of HRC Memorial in Nazran.