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US boycotts terrorism conference to protest exclusion of Chechen rights group

[JURIST] A US delegation walked out of a conference on victims of terrorism [OSCE materials] hosted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) [official website] Thursday, protesting the OSCE's refusal to allow the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society [advocacy website], a small NGO that reported on human rights violations and disappearances in the Northern Caucasus, to participate in the talks. Chris Sibilla, a political officer at the US Mission to the OSCE, filed a formal protest [text] at the beginning of the conference, saying the Friendship Society is a "reputable" group and that peaceful NGOs such as the Friendship Society should be allowed to participate. An OSCE spokesperson said the Friendship Society had been banned from the conference because Russia objected to its participation. AP has more.

In January,the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation [official website] upheld [JURIST report] a Russian lower court order to shut down the Society [JURIST report] pursuant to a new law [JURIST report; JURIST news archive] supported by President Vladimir Putin that bans NGOs headed by persons with criminal records. One month after the enactment of the law, RCFS co-founder Stanislav Dmitriyevsky was convicted of inciting racial hatred [JURIST report].

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