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Welcome support for workers’ rights advocate in Russia

Author: Jane Buchanan, Human Rights Watch, Published on: 23 April 2018

Last week was my first time in a Russian appeals courtroom. I and a colleague were there to support Semyon Simonov, a Russian human rights defender, who is taking a case against police for misconduct. Simonov had worked with Human Rights Watch to document worker abuses on stadium construction sites for Russia’s June hosting of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In April 2017, he planned to interview workers about their treatment and working conditions on the stadium site in Volgograd when police detained him – he believes arbitrarily – for several hours. Determined not to allow the police to get away with unlawful tactics and intimidation against him for carrying out lawful and legitimate human rights work, Simonov has been seeking accountability for his treatment ever since...FIFA, world football’s governing body, sent a representative too...This demonstration of support for Simonov and his work is...notable...In line with its commitment to protect “freedoms of human rights defenders and media representatives … including by using its leverage with the relevant authorities” FIFA could question the FSB’s designation of Simonov as “a person under particular control” and publicly affirm their backing of the work of rights defenders.

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