Human rights in Tatarstan

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Flag of the Tatars

The member organisations of the House [What house? undefined term] work on a range of issues including prison conditions; police abuse; access to medical treatment; violence in the army; domestic violence and the conditions for children in institutional care. The House members have a thematic focus on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. With member organisations that have worked together since 2009, Human Rights House Kazan was already a well-established human rights centre in Czarist Russia when it joined the network of Human Rights Houses in 2019.

Tatar history[change | change source]

Perestroika helped in the rebirth of Tatar nationalism, which had first flourished during the October Revolution. From the late 1980s, Tatarstan was at the forefront of the movement for regional autonomy. Tatarstan declared sovereignty on 30 August 1990. A referendum held on 21 March 1992 on the transformation of Tatarstan into an independent republic won wide support. The Tatarstan authorities refused to sign the Federation Treaty (March 1992). Particular efforts have been made to build links with the Tatar diaspora. The Constitution of 1992 allowed for dual citizenship and for two state languages. In 1992-3 a number of organizations, including the Tatar Public Opinion Centre, demanded outright independence for the republic. The main nationalist drive was not, however, for full independence but rather for associative membership of the Russian Federation. The wide dispersal of Tatars – in 1989 only 32 per cent of Russia’s 5.5 million Tatars lived in Tatarstan – prevented Kazan’s campaign for power from turning into a struggle for ethno-national liberation. The Tatarstan authorities signed a historic power-sharing agreement with Moscow on 15 February 1994 that granted the republic important rights of self-government, the right to retain a substantial share of federal taxes collected in Tatarstan and for republican legislation to supersede federal law in some cases. The treaty nonetheless fell short of recognizing Tatarstan as an independent entity in international law.

Following the Soviet collapse Tatars have consolidated their demographic position within the Republic of Tatarstan, forming an absolute majority for the first time in the 2002 census. Ethnic Tatars have generally been over-represented in Tatarstan’s political institutions in the post-Soviet period. Contact with the Tatar diaspora abroad also increased.

LGBT rights[change | change source]

Russian imperialists is notorious for its laws against "gay propaganda," which have resulted in a spate of show trials against LGBT activists. The researcher at Human Rights Watch, said that Tatar authorities have made derogatory and aggressive statements against LGBT groups. The LGBT community in Tatarstan, however, keeps a low profile and has always opposed the continued unjust annexation of their country, since the late 1980's.