Russia: Human Rights Watch & other NGOs call upon FIFA to engage with authorities on persecution of human rights defenders

Author: Human Rights Watch, Front Line Defenders, Amnesty Int'l & 11 other NGOs, Published on: 16 May 2018

"Joint Letter to FIFA Concerning the Human Rights Crisis in Chechnya", 16 May 2018

We write concerning the human rights crisis in Chechnya, the capital of which, Grozny, was confirmed by FIFA as the team base camp for Egypt. In January 2018, Chechen authorities intensified their attack against the leading Russian human rights organization Memorial, by jailing prominent human rights defender and the head of Memorial's local office, Oyub Titiev, on fabricated criminal charges...We call upon FIFA to engage with the Russian authorities on the human rights crisis in Chechnya, in particular on the attack against Titiev and Memorial...FIFA's Human Rights Policy requires the wide range of entities linked to FIFA to respect human rights...FIFA can immediately act on this commitment by using its leverage with the Russian authorities and directly with President Putin to protect Titiev and Memorial...We are convinced that the authorities have retaliated against Titiev for his human rights work in an effort to force Memorial out of Chechnya. The persecution of Titiev and Memorial threatens the very possibility of human rights work in Chechnya. It is a brazen attempt to silence all those critical of Chechen authorities and leaves victims of abuses with little or no support. We are certain that FIFA can play a crucial role in helping to remedy this situation, and that it is is uniquely positioned to influence the Russian government in this regard.

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