News / Europe

Critics: Putin's Olympic Security Decree Violates Rights

Workmen walk through the under construction Olympic Village, which sits in front of the Bolshoy Ice Dome on the Olympic Park for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, in Adler, Russia, Aug. 19, 2013. Workmen walk through the under construction Olympic Village, which sits in front of the Bolshoy Ice Dome on the Olympic Park for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, in Adler, Russia, Aug. 19, 2013.
x
Workmen walk through the under construction Olympic Village, which sits in front of the Bolshoy Ice Dome on the Olympic Park for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, in Adler, Russia, Aug. 19, 2013.
Workmen walk through the under construction Olympic Village, which sits in front of the Bolshoy Ice Dome on the Olympic Park for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, in Adler, Russia, Aug. 19, 2013.
Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to tighten security in the Black Sea resort of Sochi during the 2014 Winter Olympics, imposing restrictions on freedom of movement and assembly that critics said violated human rights.
 
The decree creates a “prohibited zone” encompassing much of the sprawling city, barring travel into Sochi by road without special permission and banning public gatherings “not connected” with the Olympics in high security areas on land and sea.
 
Putin has staked his reputation on the security and success of Russia's first Olympics since the Soviet era and has ordered law enforcement authorities to prevent any attacks by Islamist militants based in the nearby North Caucasus provinces.
 
In early July, insurgent leader Doku Umarov revoked a previous order to refrain from attacking Russian targets outside the North Caucasus and urged militants to use “maximum force” to prevent Putin staging the Games.
 
Published in the official newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Friday, the decree enters into force on Jan. 7, a month before the opening ceremony, and expires on March 21, a month after the Olympics end.
 
Human rights activists said the restrictions were draconian.
 
Barring cars from outside Sochi restricts Russians' freedom of movement and the ban on most public gatherings violates their constitutional right to free assembly, said Pavel Chikov, a human rights lawyer and head of the legal aid group Agora.
 
He told Ekho Moskvy radio such restrictions required passage of a law or imposition of a state of emergency.
 
“Under such conditions the Olympics, which are supposed to be celebration of sport and democracy, will become the exact opposite,” prominent Russian environmental activist Alexei Yablokov said in a comment posted on the Internet.
 
“Nature is being destroyed, people are being evicted from their homes, and now it turns out that a state of emergency is being imposed,” he said.
 
Gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev said he planned to hold a gay pride march in Sochi on the opening day of the Olympics and that it could not be prohibited by presidential decree.
 
“Are the Olympics an emergency situation, like a war or a natural disaster?” Alexeyev was quoted as saying by the website grani.ru. “There has been no precedent in history in which peaceful demonstrations have been banned in a city where the Olympics were being held.”
 
A law Putin signed this year banning gay “propaganda” has been criticized by Western governments and prompted calls for a boycott of the Olympics. Russia has offered assurances that the law will not affect athletes or spectators.
 
In the decree, Putin said its purpose was the “implementation of increased security measures” called for in a law adopted in 2007, when the Olympics were awarded to Sochi.
 
Kremlin officials could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid