Russia: Deportation of Valentina Chupik (joint communication)


On 30 September 2021, I wrote a joint communication to the Government of Russia on the detention and potential deportation of Ms. Valentina Chupik from Russia to Uzbekistan where she may risk arbitrary detention and torture.

Valentina Chupik is a woman human rights defender and the head of the Russian non-governmental human rights organisation “Tong Jahoni”. She defends migrants’ rights, providing free legal aid and human rights education, alongside conducting research on migration.

Since I wrote the communication, Ms. Chupik has been relocated to Armenia and may not re-enter Russia for 30 years.

Read the full communication Read the Government's response


Ms. Chupik is a citizen of Uzbekistan. In 2006, she fled Uzbekistan after law enforcement officers reportedly kept her in a basement for 38 hours describing how they would rape and kill her and dismember her body. In 2009, she received refugee status in Russia, and has since lived and worked in the country, where she founded “Tong Jahoni”, a human rights organisation.

On the night of 24-25 September 2021, the officers of the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSS) arrested and detained Ms. Chupik at Sheremetyevo Airport upon her return to the country from a trip in Armenia. Ms. Chupik was then informed that her refugee status had been revoked on 17 September 2021, by decision of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the city of Moscow. On the basis of that decision, the FSS officers confiscated her refugee certificate and travel document.

The FSS officers provided Ms. Chupik with a notification of the revocation of her refugee status in the form of an uncertified photocopy of the decision. According to the photocopy, her refugee status was revoked because she “knowingly provided false information or presented false documents that served as the basis for recognition as a refugee, or committed another violation of the provisions of the law on refugees”. The FSS officers reportedly told her that the actual reason for revoking her refugee status was the fact that Ms. Chupik spoke too actively about alleged systemic corruption in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and complained too much about the police, including through her activities with the Tong Jahoni NGO.

The FSS also banned Ms. Chupik from entering Russia until September 2051. The decision states that the ban is “necessary in order to ensure the defence or security of the State, or public order, or to protect the health of the population.”

Since she was arrested, Ms. Chupik has been kept in a special detention facility for deportees at Sheremetyevo Airport. For almost a day following her arrest, a blindingly bright light was turned on in her room. There was no shelter from the light and it was impossible for Ms. Chupik to turn it off. There are reportedly no windows or ventilation in the room where she is detained. Some individuals allegedly linked to nationalist groups have reportedly called her on her mobile phone, threatening her and celebrating her impending deportation. Ms. Chupik has not been allowed to meet a lawyer since she was arrested , and does not have a pen and paper with which to lodge an appeal to the decisions against her during her detention.

On 27 September 2021, police and the FSS officers came to the home of Ms. Chupik’s elderly mother in the Moscow region and searched her house, implying the possibility of a criminal case being prepared against Ms. Chupik.


In the communication, we expressed grave concern at the arrest, detention and potential deportation of Ms. Valentina Chupik as well as at the ban on her re-entering the Russian Federation for thirty years. If returned to Uzbekistan, we feared she would be at high risk of persecution and torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and sexual and gender-based violence that aims to discourage and prevent her from continuing her activities as a human rights defender. Her deportation in such circumstances would have been in violation of the prohibition of refoulement under international law. We are concerned that the reasons that may have led to the revocation of Ms. Chupik’s refugee status may be related to the exercise of her right to freedom of opinion and expression as well as of association, and her legitimate work defending human rights of migrants. Moreover, we expressed concern regarding Ms. Chupik’s lack of access to legal assistance, her harsh conditions of detention, and the potential that a criminal case against her may be being prepared.


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