October was not a good month for Russian human rights activists. On 7 October, Anna Politkovskaya, a well know journalist who regularly exposed Russian human rights violations in Chechnya, was murdered in her flat in Moscow. Six days later, on 13 October, the Russian Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS) of Nizhnii Novgorod was ordered closed by a local court, because the recently adopted NGO law makes it illegal for an organisation to be headed by a person convicted of "extremist activities".
On 7 October 2006, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered outside her flat in Moscow. This was not an isolated case -- several journalists have been killed in Russia in recent years -- and it was not a coincidence that Anna Politkovskaya was the target.
First are prisoners' names (in bold), followed by their sentence, then their place of imprisonment, and, finally the reason for their detention. Information about countries where prisoners have had their sentences suspended, or where sentences have been served or completed during the year, are in italics.
The Russian military faces (at least) two human rights problems: dedovshchina, the hazing of new conscripts in the Russian army (see book review below), and human rights violations by Russian military in Chechnya or other conflict areas.
Dedovshchina in the Post-Soviet Military: Hazing of Russian Army Conscripts in a Comparative Perspective
Françoise Dauce and Elisabeth Sieca-Kozlowski (ed.), ibidem, Stuttgart 2006
This book is not written from a pacifist perspective -- hardly so, and many authors write from a clearly pro-military perspective. But this is not a weakness, as we as readers can easily add this perspective. What the book offers is some insight into the phenomenon of dedovshchina -- the hazing of Russian conscripts to a degree unknown in Western societies.
The Russian law on conscientious objection came into force on 1 January 2004, introducing a "right" to conscientious objection which is not in line with international standards, including a substitute service 1.75 times longer than military service .
The World Social Forum 2007 will take place from 20-25 January 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya. Following up from WRI's conference 'Globalising Nonviolence' in Germany in July this year, War Resisters' International will be taking part in the World Social Forum with several activities, aimed at highlighting nonviolence and promoting antimilitarism. WRI will use the opportunity especially to strengthen contacts with other groups in Africa, and to build networks in support of Eritrean human rights activists and draft evaders.
The Broken Rifle is the newsletter of War Resisters' International, and is published in English, Spanish, French and German. This is issue 72, November 2006.
This issue of The Broken Rifle was produced by Andreas Speck. Special thanks go to everyone who provided the information used in this issue. If you want extra copies of this issue of The Broken Rifle, please contact the WRI office, or download it from our website.
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