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Russia: Beyond the olympic torch’s glow
Author: Human Rights Watch, Published on: 7 October 2013
As the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Torch Relay kicks off in Moscow...the route is marked by major human rights abuses. As the torch begins its journey, Human Rights Watch is launching a new interactive “alternative torch relay map” to spotlight serious human rights concerns in the cities and towns along the relay route. “Russia’s torch relay aims to display the country’s diversity and history, but human rights abuses are very much a part of Russia’s contemporary geography,” said Jane Buchanan, associate director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch. “People should be aware of the discrimination, silencing of activists, and other human rights abuses that Russia isn’t showcasing.”... [T]he torch relay will last 123 days, arriving in Sochi on February 7, 2014, for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games...Human Rights Watch’s map highlights key human rights cases in 39 major cities across Russia...In Sochi itself, Human Rights Watch has documented exploitation of many workers engaged in Olympic construction; some evictions to make way for Olympic construction without fair compensation; the refusal to relocate people whose homes are severely damaged or affected by Olympic construction; and pressure on and harassment of environmental and human rights activists and journalists who criticize Olympic preparations or other government policies.