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Keep hope alive campaign to challenge Russia

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WORLD LEADERS: CHALLENGE RUSSIA’S HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND CLAMPDOWN ON CIVIL SOCIETY AT G20 MEETING IN ST. PETERSBURG

 Today, Russian and international human rights organisations launch the ‘KEEP HOPE ALIVE’ campaign asking world leaders to challenge Russia on the deteriorating human rights situation and escalating clamp down on civil society in the context of the G20 meeting [9] taking place in St Petersburg on 5-6 September.

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 organisations 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, 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 non-Slavic appearance have long been targets of neo-Nazi, ultra nationalist groups, with the introduction of new laws and accompanying public rhetoric 'demonising' lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans identities, LGBTI people (particularly youth) have increasingly become the new 'bait' for hate groups.

The situation has been criticised by virtually all major international organisations 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.

'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

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