A group of Russian activists scheduled to speak at the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples have this week been prevented from travelling outside of Russia by state officials.
Reports claim that border officials damaged the passports of several activists and prevented them from leaving the country, others were delayed to the extent that they missed their flights. Activists whose passports were damaged were later issued with fines of around 5,000 rubles.
Tanya Cooper, a Russian researcher with the group Human Rights Watch claimed that these recent actions are part of the Kremlin’s ‘heavy-handed crackdown on activists.’ It is thought that the activists were stopped from attending the UN meeting in New York in order to prevent them from speaking out on the subjects of indigenous rights and Arctic drilling in Russia.
In light of the news the Human Rights Watch called for action to be taken, stating that as a member of the European Convention on Human Rights that Russian authorities should work to prevent harassment and interference of activists and human rights campaigners.