“The work of the Joint Mobile Group is an inspirational example of how committed individuals, despite all the pressures that are brought to bear on them, can hold the line in defence of justice, truth and the rule of law. It is the denial of access to justice that enables tyrants to prevail. This is why the work of human rights defenders like the Joint Mobile Group is so important”.
- Former Irish President Mary Robinson
Joint Mobile Group - Russia - Martin Ennals Award 2013 Laureate
You will remember that in 2009, the head of the human rights organisation 'Memorial' in Chechnya, Natalya Estemirova, was abducted and murdered. This murder served as a very serious message to the remaining independent human rights groups in Chechnya.
Horrific crimes continue. We formed mobile groups of lawyers to investigate the activities of the police units, which are police only in name. We have demonstrated that even here, even in these circumstances, it is possible to fight for human rights.
Igor Kalyapin is a human rights defender, founder and a former chairperson of the Committee Against Torture. He is also the founder of the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) established by human rights NGOs in November 2009 following the murder of human rights defender Ms Natalya Estemirova in Chechnya. The JMG received the Front Line Defenders Award in April 2011 for their work in investigating torture and disappearances in Chechnya and was also the 2013 recipient of the Martin Ennals Award. Igor Kalyapin is also an acting member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights in Russia.