Russian Federation: Women and girls - daily victims in the cycle ofviolence and impunity - News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
25.Jan.02 - EUR 46/006/2002 -13/02 - The Russian Federation's government has failed consistently to
protect the human rights of women and girls and break the cycle
of violence, Amnesty International stated today as the UN
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW) reviews that country's fifth periodic report.
[Russian Federation: Summary of concerns on the human rights of women and girls]
Based on continuous reports by victims and witnesses,
Amnesty International presented a briefing to CEDAW highlighting
the climate of impunity where alleged perpetrators are rarely
brought to justice by the authorities. The climate created by
this, in turn promotes further violations of the human rights
violations of women since alleged perpetrators know they will go
Women in Chechnya have experienced a horrific spectrum of
abuse in the context of the armed conflict, ranging from torture
(including rape) to forced "disappearance" and extrajudicial
execution. Furthermore, civilian women and girls have also been
indiscriminately killed during military operations.
In November 2001, AI representatives who travelled to
camps at the border with Chechnya, collected corroborating
witness testimonies regarding a recent pattern of rape in
detention of pregnant Chechen women by Russian soldiers.
"Rape is not only used as a weapon of war -- women
detainees are also victims of this form of torture at the hands
of law enforcement officials," Amnesty International said.
Torture and ill-treatment of women and girls in custody
is endemic and widespread throughout the Russian Federation.
Perpetrators of such treatment among the police enjoy a broad
degree of impunity with little likelihood of prosecution for
their actions, this actively dissuades victims from filing
complaints. Furthermore, prosecutors are notoriously reluctant to
take into consideration allegations made by women claiming that
they have experienced sexual harassment, intimidation, torture or
ill-treatment in police custody.
"Conditions in pre-trial detention facilities and prison
colonies are unimaginable and reminiscent of the Stalin era:
overcrowded, unhygenic and inhuman," Amnesty International warned.
Menstruating women are not provided with sanitary
supplies and have to resort to using rags or the stuffing of
their mattresses. Women and girls in pre-trial detention and in
prison colonies are often subjected to torture and ill-treatment
by the guards. Since there are only three prison colonies for
convicted girls in the whole of the Russian Federation, it's very
difficult for them to maintain links with their families or
receive material support from them.
"Women are not only at risk in the public sphere at the
hands of officials -- the blatant disrespect for their integrity
has also left them vulnerable in the private sphere as victims of
domestic violence and pawns to be trafficked for forced
prostitution," Amnesty International stated.
"Until the Russian authorities take concrete steps
towards combating impunity and addressing gender specific
violations of human rights, the majority of the Russian
population -- women -- remain vulnerable and at risk."
[Russian Federation: Women and girls victims of human rights abuses (selected case studies)]
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