Rachel Denber, Human Rights Watch

Rachel Denber

Human Rights Watch

New York, NY, United States

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  • Human Rights Watch
  • EUobserver
  • America Magazine

Past articles by Rachel:

Navalny’s Oscar Moment Spotlights Russian Government Abuse

In the last minutes of Navalny, the documentary about Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny that’s been nominated for an Academy Award, viewers learn he is facing up to 20 years in prison. This is hardly a spoiler; Navalny’s been behind bars since he returned to Russia in 2021 following a 2020 assassination attempt. → Read More

The Kremlin's repressive decade

Ten years ago, I had the honour of speaking at news conference in Moscow with Russia's human rights defenders. A week later, president Vladimir Putin signed a new bill into law and Russia's human-rights landscape has become almost unrecognisable since. → Read More

New Language Requirement Raises Concerns in Ukraine

A new legal provision on the use of the Ukrainian language, part of a broader state language law, raises concerns about protection for minority languages. → Read More

In Closing Memorial, Russia Heralds a New, Grimmer Era of Repression

In two days, Russian courts have delivered a one-two punch to Russia’s human rights movement. Just a few days after the 30-year anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, courts ruled to close Memorial, Russia’s top human rights group. → Read More

Activist Missing in Turkmenistan

“The police are here. If they find me, they’ll take me in. I’ve gone into hiding.” These are the last words heard from Azat Isakov, a dissident from Turkmenistan who had been living in Russia for about six years. → Read More

Belarus Authorities Launch Purge of Civic Groups

The Belarusian government is moving to close dozens of organizations that were the backbone of the country’s once vibrant civil society. → Read More

Russian Authorities Strike at Investigative Reporting

Russian authorities have just delivered another blow to independent media in the country. On July 15, the prosecutor general’s office blacklisted Project Media Inc. as an “undesirable foreign organization,” banning it in Russia and making it unlawful for anyone in Russia’s jurisdiction to be associated with it. → Read More

Belarus’s Shocking New Low in Crushing Dissent

Belarusian authorities’ shocking action on Sunday to force down a Ryanair flight on false pretenses to enable them detain activist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend, Sofya Sapega was not just a violation of international law but a brutal demonstration of how far Belarus’s lawless regime will go to snuff out any hint of dissent. → Read More

Crossing Another Rubicon in Russia

Russian authorities have been on a rampage of repression in recent months, imprisoning a top political opposition figure, arresting record numbers of protesters, and sustaining a month of heightened persecution of independent media. → Read More

International Scrutiny Increases for Belarus

Internationally, pressure is increasing on Belarus, where for the past 41 days, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest alleged election fraud in the presidential vote and the ensuing violence against demonstrators by law enforcement. → Read More

Russia Needs an Investigation into Navalny’s Illness

Consider this agonizing moment for Yulia Navalnaya. Her husband, Alexei Navalny, is fighting for his life on a ventilator in a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after falling suddenly and desperately ill. → Read More

Another Journalist Arrested in Russia

Today, news broke that the Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested veteran journalist Ivan Safronov on treason charges. → Read More

Prosecutors in Russia Object to Parole for Jehovah’s Witness

Everything seemed to be in place for Dennis Christensen, prosecuted on charges of “extremism” because of the way he practices religion as a Jehovah’s Witness, to leave a Russian prison in early July. But today his lawyer confirmed to Human Rights Watch that the prosecutor’s office has appealed his parole. → Read More

Belarus’s Parade Plans Defy Public Health Recommendations

This Sunday, in Minsk, Belarus authorities will hold a large parade – a jarring sight, considering much of the world is in various stages of Covid-19 lockdowns. → Read More

Moscow’s Intrusive Proposal on COVID-19 Prevention

Moscow is considering a highly intrusive, online regime for enforcing the lockdown imposed this week to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As of April 1, Russia had recorded more than 2,300 cases, 1,630 of them in Moscow. → Read More

Russia’s Political and Constitutional Drama

President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Wednesday took to another stage what seemed to be endless speculation about what role he would play in Russia’s polity after his term limits are set to end in 2024. → Read More

Judge Vacates Activist’s Sentence, But Keeps Him Behind Bars

A Russian man sentenced to four years in prison for his involvement in a peaceful protest will spend at least two more months – unjustly – behind bars. → Read More

Why Legal ‘Innovation’ Might be Bad News for Rights in Russia

Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans for constitutional reform that, among other things, seem to clear a path for him to remain in power – albeit not as president – after his term expires in 2024. → Read More

Release Ill Prisoner in Turkmenistan for Medical Treatment

Alysher Muhametguliyev, who is serving a 23-year prison sentence in Turkmenistan’s notorious Ovadan Depe prison, urgently needs medical care and should be released immediately for medical treatment. → Read More

Why Macron Should Speak Frankly With Putin About Human Rights

Emmanuel Macron will meet Vladimir Putin in Brégançon, the French president’s summer home, on August 19, a date that resonates deeply with the Russian leader. It was on that day, 28 years ago, that an attempted coup set off a chain of events that culminated in the collapse of the Soviet Union. → Read More