Today, the Russian authorities have closed down representative offices of Amnesty International and other international NGOs. Reacting to the news, Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said:
“Amnesty’s closing down in Russia is only the latest in a long list of organisations that have been punished for defending human rights and speaking the truth to the Russian authorities. In a country where scores of activists and dissidents have been imprisoned, killed or exiled, where independent media has been smeared, blocked or forced to self-censor, and where civil society organisations have been outlawed or liquidated, you must be doing something right if the Kremlin tries to shut you up.
“The authorities are deeply mistaken if they believe that by closing down our office in Moscow they will stop our work documenting and exposing human rights violations. We continue undeterred to work to ensure that people in Russia are able to enjoy their human rights without discrimination. We will redouble our efforts to expose Russia’s egregious human rights violations both at home and abroad.
“We will never stop fighting for the release of prisoners of conscience unjustly detained for standing up for human rights. We will continue to defend independent journalism’s ability to report actual facts, free of the Russian government’s intervention. We will continue to work relentlessly to ensure that all those who are responsible for committing grave human rights violations, whether in Russia, Ukraine or Syria, face justice. Put simply, we will never give up.”
On 8 April, the Russian Ministry of Justice delisted Amnesty International’s Moscow Office from the register of the representative offices of the international organisations and foreign NGOs, effectively closing it down alongside with offices of Human Rights Watch, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Friedrich Ebert Foundation and other organisations. This decision has been taken “in connection with the discovered violations of the Russian legislation.”
On 11 March, Russia’s media regulator also blocked access to Amnesty International’s Russian-language website.