Fleeing human rights violations in North Caucasus region of Russia increasingly risky: Amnesty International News
Fleeing human rights violations in North Caucasus region of Russia increasingly risky: Amnesty International

Amnesty International found that it is now riskier to flee persecution in the North Caucasus region of Russia due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and stigmatization in Europe. In a report published on Thursday, Amnesty International urged European governments should stop transferring at-risk individuals to Russia to protect their human rights.

The Thursday report highlighted that European governments persist in deporting individuals, including Chechens, back to Russia despite worsening human rights conditions. Amnesty International found that Russian authorities, especially in the North Caucasus, subject these individuals to torture. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the threat of mobilization, the risk of severe human rights violations upon return has increased. Geopolitical events and discrimination in Europe compound the vulnerability of North Caucasus individuals.

Despite assertions of halting cooperation with Russia, European states continue to threaten or execute transfers, violating the principle of non-refoulement. Amnesty International called upon European states to halt extraditions to Russia. They advocated for fair asylum procedures, safeguarding conscientious objectors and avoiding reliance on diplomatic assurances.

Amnesty International also urged the rejection of Interpol red notices from Russia, lawful detention practices for those needing protection and transparent risk assessments for legal challenges. Simultaneously, they call on Interpol to suspend Russia’s system access, investigate red notice abuses and cancel extradition requests for individuals under international protection or awaiting decisions. Red notices are requests from law enforcement participating in Interpol to “locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.”

The North Caucasus is a region in the southern part of Russia, situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It is known for its diverse ethnic and cultural composition, with various ethnic groups and languages. The region includes republics such as Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia-Alania, and others. The North Caucasus has a complex history, marked by ethnic tensions and conflicts—particularly in Chechnya. Human rights concerns in the North Caucasus include arbitrary detentions, torture, restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, discrimination and violence against minority groups—especially ethnic and religious minorities—counterterrorism measures criticized for rights violations, limited accountability for abuses and challenges to freedom of religion.