By thugs inside as well as outside the Chechen government. Human Rights Watch has published a detailed update on its report from last November, in which it noted that Chechnya's enforcement of an Islamic dress code violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Where is Obama, who argued so passionately for the "choice" to wear the hijab in Cairo?
Below are excerpts from "You Dress According to Their Rules," from Human Rights Watch, March 10 (thanks to Twostellas):
... Kadyrov has made the “virtue campaign” for women a policy priority since 2006. He made numerous public statements, including on Chechen television, which appears to be under his control, regarding the need for women to adhere to “modesty laws,” by, among other things, wearing a headscarf and following men’s orders. He has described women as men’s “property” and publicly condoned honor killings. Other Chechen officials have echoed his views in their own public remarks. Several dozen women interviewed by Human Rights Watch in Chechnya indicated that they found the virtue campaign deeply offensive but could not protest it openly, fearing for their own security as well as that of their relatives. [...]
The enforcement of a compulsory Islamic dress code on women in Chechnya violates their rights to private life, personal autonomy, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion, thought, and conscience. It is also a form of gender-based discrimination prohibited under international treaties to which Russia is a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This policy is also in breach of Russia’s Constitution, which guarantees freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, and gender equality. [...]
In a televised interview in July 2010, Kadyrov expressed unambiguous approval of the paintball attacks by professing his readiness to "give an award to" the men engaged in these activities and arguing that the targeted women deserved this treatment. Then, at the start of the Ramadan holiday in mid-August 2010, groups of men in traditional Islamic dress claiming to represent the republic's Islamic High Council (muftiat) started approaching women in the center of Grozny, publicly shaming them for violating Islamic modesty laws and handing out brochures with detailed descriptions of appropriate Islamic dress for females. They instructed women to wear headscarves and to have their skirts well below the knees and sleeves well below the elbow. The purported envoys from the Islamic High Council were soon joined by aggressive young men who pulled on the women's sleeves, skirts, and hair; touched the bare skin on their arms; accused them of being dressed like harlots; and made other humiliating remarks and gestures. In interviews with Human Rights Watch, dozens of victims and witnesses described a pattern of harassment that continued throughout Ramadan, and that in some cases involved law enforcement authorities as enforcers of the women’s dress code.
Although Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has directed Chechen authorities to look into the paintball attacks, the federal authorities have not otherwise taken any steps to put an end to the Chechen leadership’s enforcement of a compulsory Islamic dress code in Chechnya. They have also failed to indicate in any public way that describing women as property and justifying violence against women is unacceptable. [...]
... Women caught without headscarves in the street have been publicly humiliated on local television. The Chechen courts now apply rules drawn from Sharia law, in contravention of Russian law. As a result, for example, a woman who is widowed may have any children over 12 years of age and her property taken away from her by her deceased husband's family.[...]
Another victim, a woman of 29, told a Human Rights Watch researcher that on June 6 she was walking down the same street in the afternoon with two other young women, all of them without headscarves, when two cars drove up to them. Bearded men in military-style black uniforms, who looked like law enforcement officials, shot at them from the cars’ windows with pink and blue paint, screaming, “Cover your hair, harlots!” Male passersby applauded the attackers and yelled, “Serves you right for having no shame!” [...]
And a threatening leaflet:
We want to remind you that, in accordance with the rules and customs of Islam, every Chechen woman is OBLIGED TO WEAR A HEADSCARF.
Are you not disgusted when you hear the indecent “compliments” and proposals that are addressed to you because you have dressed so provocatively and have not covered your head? THINK ABOUT IT!!!
Today we have sprayed you with paint, but this is only a WARNING!!! DON’T COMPEL US TO RESORT TO MORE PERSUASIVE MEASURES!!!”
There is much more.