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OSCE Members Blast Russia's Lack Of Response To Rights Violations In Chechnya

Ramzan Kadyrov has ruled Chechnya with an iron fist since he was installed as the region's leader in 2007.

The United States, Canada, and 14 European states say Russia has failed to respond to serious human rights violations and abuses in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya, where a "climate of impunity" continues to prevail against human rights defenders, journalists, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

The joint statement was delivered to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on May 26, 17 months after a fact-finding report presented at the OSCE said the authorities in Chechnya had committed torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and other "very serious" human rights violations and abuses.

The victims included members of the LGBT community, human rights defenders, lawyers, independent media, and civil society organizations, according to the 2018 report.

"Seventeen months have passed since this report was issued. However, there has been no constructive response to the report or its recommendations from the Russian federal authorities," the joint statement said, calling the situation in Chechnya "deeply worrying."

Ramzan Kadyrov has ruled Chechnya with an iron fist since he was installed as the region's leader by President Vladimir Putin in 2007.

"We will continue to raise our concerns with regard to the numerous credible allegations of ongoing serious human rights violations and abuses in Chechnya until we receive a substantive response from the Russian Federation and observe tangible progress in the region," the statement said.

Besides the United States and Canada, the signatories included Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

The report on human rights violations in Chechnya was the result of the invocation in November 2018 by the 16 OSCE member states of a diplomatic tool known as the Moscow Mechanism.

The mechanism allows for an investigation to be launched without consensus and independently of the OSCE chairmanship, institutions, and decision-making bodies if one member state, supported by at least nine others, "considers that a particularly serious threat to the fulfillment of the provisions of the [OSCE] human dimension has arisen in another participating state."

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