Friday, May 15, 2020

Abuses in Ingushetia Call Attention to Absence of Russian Law Against Female Mutilation

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 13 – Ingushetia, which over the last two years has attracted attention across Russia for the rise of its civil society and the resulting conflicts between the peoples and the power, is now the focus of something else: numerous cases of female genital mutilation and of particular concern the absence of any Russian law specifically banning it.

            Last week, Duma deputies called attention to what they said was a widespread problem in Ingushetia and demanded that republic officials take action.  The Legal Initiative human rights group has added its voice to those demands and provided additional details about the practice in that North Caucasus republic.

            The practice is widespread, the group says, including even in clinics in the capital, Magas. But what is most worrisome is that its experts say there is no specific Russian law banning female mutilation. Instead, when it is prosecuted, those who engage in it are charged with other crimes (

            On the one hand, this allows the Russian government to avoid collecting data on the practice and thus to insist that it isn’t a problem in that country. But on the other, in many places, including Ingushetia, it allows the practice to flourish, inflicting pain and suffering on women and minor children.

            Tatyana Savvina of Legal Initiative says that if Russian and Ingush investigators and prosecutors do not act, her group plans to raise the issue in international venues including, if possible, the European Court for Human Rights. To avoid that, Magas and Moscow must take steps now.

            Meanwhile, despite increases in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths, the Ingush authorities have announced plans to follow Vladimir Putin’s proposed course of action and begin lifting restrictions on self-isolation on June 1, but they have also introduced new requirements for masks and gloves when people go out of their homes (  and

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