This document is an update of the COI Focus Dagestan, Veiligheidssituatie of 16 March 2018. Research for this update covers the period from 16 March 2018 to 1 February 2019.
This COI Focus examines the general security situation in Dagestan, with a focus on the use of violence by the government and by armed groups. Human rights violations committed outside the context of attacks by armed groups and countermeasures by the government are only discussed briefly. However, it is not always possible to make this distinction.
In the past few years, the position of the Caucasus Emirate rebel movement in Dagestan has strongly weakened and this trend continued in 2018 - partly as a result of successful operations by the security forces and also owing to the rise of Islamic State (IS), which took on a leading ideological role. At present, the role of the Caucasus Emirate within the rebel movement in Dagestan seems to have practically come to an end. IS has been gaining influence in Dagestan since 2014 and the IS leadership has recognized an autonomous branch for the whole of the Northern Caucasus. In previous years, there was a strong exodus of IS followers from Dagestan to the Middle East to fight on the side of IS. According to sources, departures have been decreasing since 2017, while the collapse of IS in Syria and Iraq has led to the return of IS supporters from those countries to Dagestan in 2017. According to the sources, only a limited number of returnees joined active IS fighters in Dagestan and so far returns have not lead to a resurgence of the rebel movement in the republic.
There are no figures on the number of IS fighters in Dagestan, but according to the sources their number is relatively low. At present, their actions in Dagestan remain rather limited.
In the past few years, the number of violent incidents and victims among the security forces and the rebels continued to decrease. Following a limited increase in 2016, a further decrease was noted in 2017, and this trend continued in 2018. There were four civilian dead in the republic in 2017, six in 2018.
Sources mention that the security forces commit abuses in their fight against the rebels and resort to torture and excessive violence in a climate of impunity. Until 2017 at least, there were reports of the destruction by the authorities of houses belonging to relatives of persons considered as rebels.
The policy implemented by the Commissioner General is based on a thorough analysis of accurate and up-to-date information on the general situation in the country of origin. This information is collated in a professional manner from various, objective sources, including the EASO, the UNHCR, relevant international human rights organisations, non-governmental organisations, professional literature and coverage in the media. When determining policy, the Commissioner General does not only examine the COI Focuses written by Cedoca and published on this website, as these deal with just one aspect of the general situation in the country of origin. The fact that a COI Focus could be out-of-date does not mean that the policy that is being implemented by the Commissioner General is no longer up-to-date.
When assessing an application for asylum, the Commissioner General not only considers the actual situation in the country of origin at the moment of decision-making, he also takes into account the individual situation and personal circumstances of the applicant for international protection. Every asylum application is examined individually. An applicant must comprehensively demonstrate that he has a well-founded fear of persecution or that there is a clear personal risk of serious harm. He cannot, therefore, simply refer back to the general conditions in his country, but must also present concrete, credible and personal facts.
There is no policy paper for this country available on the website.