Challenge Russia's Human Rights Abuses at G20 Meeting | Freedom House

Challenge Russia's Human Rights Abuses at G20 Meeting


Campaign Hashtag: #RussiaKeepHopeAlive

World Leaders:
Challenge Russia’s Human Rights Abuses and Clampdown on Civil Society at G20 Meeting in St. Petersburg

Washington - August 28, 2013 - Today, Russian and international human rights organizations launch the ‘Keep Hope Alive’ campaign asking world leaders to challenge Russia on the deteriorating human rights situation and escalating clampdown on civil society in the context of the G20 meeting taking place in St Petersburg on September 5 and 6.

Since Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, the Russian government has unleashed a crackdown on civil society, targeting in particular human rights defenders protecting the rights of minority groups. A series of discriminatory and restrictive laws have been introduced which significantly restrict civil society organizations and threatens their existence, such as the treason law, ‘foreign agent’ law, Dima Yakovlev law, and anti-propaganda law.

These legal restrictions are supplemented by harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and civil society representatives casting them as ‘enemies’ of Russia and its ‘traditional values.'

As a result, these laws and policies fuel violence and discrimination against the most vulnerable minority groups in Russia, including immigrant workers, ethnic and religious minorities and LGBTI people. While ethnic, racial and religious minorities, and immigrant workers with a non-Slavic appearance have long been targets of neo-Nazis and ultra nationalist groups, with the introduction of new laws and accompanying public rhetoric ‘demonizing’ lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans identities, LGBTI people (particularly youth) have increasingly become the new ‘bait’ for hate groups.

The situation has been criticized by virtually all major international organizations highlighting Russia’s violation of very basic international human rights obligations and democratic principles, but much more needs to be done to confront Russia. Therefore this campaign appeals to world leaders to speak up during the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg to challenge Russia to reverse this trend and to comply with its international human rights obligations.

The 'Keep Hope Alive' campaign is supported by:

Article 19

Civil Rights Defenders

Freedom House

Front Line Defenders

ILGA-Europe - the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Russian LGBT Network

UNITED for Intercultural Action - European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2013, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2013 and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2012.

To learn more about Russia, visit:

Freedom in the World 2013: Russia

Freedom of the Press 2013: Russia

Special Report: Contending with Putin’s Russia

Nations in Transit 2013: Russia

Freedom on the Net 2012: Russia

Blog: Freedom at Issue

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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For more information about the campaign, please contact:

Björn van Roozendaal, Programmes Director at [email protected],
tel: + 32 2 609 54 15 / +31 497 625 322

Juris Lavrikovs, Communications Manager at [email protected],
tel: + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

‘Keep Hope Alive’ campaign:


Campaign video

ILGA-Europe’s briefing note on the human rights situation of LGBTI people and other minority groups in Russia

ILGA-Europe’s web resource on Russia developments