News of the Day: 6 January 2022

The Moscow Times: Russia on Thursday confirmed 15,316 Covid-19 infections and 802 deaths.

The Moscow Times: Bursts of gunfire echoed through the streets of Kazakhstan’s largest city on Thursday as Moscow-led troops arrived to help quell mass unrest that left dozens dead and hundreds detained. Fighting appeared to be continuing a day after protesters stormed several government buildings, with an AFP correspondent hearing regular eruptions of gunfire from the direction of a central square.

The Guardian: Dozens of protesters and at least 12 police officers have died during the ongoing violence in Kazakhstan, authorities claimed, as “peacekeepers” from a Russian-led military alliance arrived in the country at the request of the embattled president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

RFE/RL: The United States and its EU partners stepped up warnings of major consequences if Russia invades Ukraine as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to Washington on January 5 for a meeting dominated by upcoming talks with Russia. Blinken said he and Baerbock emphasized the “preference to pursue diplomacy and de-escalation” to deal with Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine.

FIDH: The Observatory has been informed about the blocking of the website of OVD-Info, an independent human rights media project which documents and widely disseminates information about violations of the right to freedom of assembly and other human rights in Russia, and offers legal support to victims. Russia’s authorities simultaneously requested social media enterprises to shut down social media accounts of OVD-Info. Since most of the NGO’s activities are carried out online, the closure of its social media accounts would amount to a de facto liquidation of OVD-Info. The Observatory recalls that businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights and not contribute to violations that is independent of States’ willingness to fulfil their own human rights obligations, as provided in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It therefore calls upon social media enterprises, and notably Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vkontakte and Telegram, to refrain from blocking OVD-Info’s social media accounts.

Human Rights in Ukraine: There was never any possibility that Seiran Saliyev would look the other way as repression mounted in Crimea under Russian occupation and he has paid a huge price for refusing to remain silent.   Seiran is the son of Zodiye Saliyeva, a veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement, and had attended his first peaceful protest as a small baby in her arms.  Her grandfather had been executed for refusing to join a collective farm which Stalin’s regime deemed an ‘attempt to overthrow the Soviet regime’.  Eighty years later, the Russian occupation regime came for her son, with the charges against the civic journalist, who had visited and reported on political trials and other forms of repression, also of trying to violently overthrow the state’.  There was no evidence to back such charges, nor indeed was Saliyev ever accused of any recognizable crime, yet he was sentenced by a Russian court to 16 years’ imprisonment in the worst of Russian penal institutions.

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