Russia criticizes US human rights report
Updated: 2006-03-11 17:08
Russia lashed out at a State
Department report that criticized its human rights record, accusing the United
States of a double standard.
The annual State Department report, released Wednesday, said the continued
centralization of power under President Vladimir Putin eroded the accountability
of Russian officials. It also criticized the government's rights record in the
persistent conflict in and around Chechnya.
The U.S. report "abounds in clear juggling of facts and is a specimen of
unconcealed double standards in relation to human rights in Russia and the
world," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.
The ministry pointed to "human rights violations within the United States,
about which authoritative international rights organizations speak ever more
loudly, and ... U.S. involvement in serious deviations from commonly accepted
norms of humanitarian law in Afghanistan and Iraq."
It said the report would hinder the development of Russian-American relations
and lead Russians to believe American policy toward Russia is prejudiced.
The ministry rejected Western concerns about the Russian government's
attitude toward human rights, saying that "active work is being conducted to
perfect systems designed to provide for the rights and freedoms of citizens."
"There are no ideal countries from the point of view of adherence to human
rights," the ministry said, echoing Russian responses to past State Department
rights reports. "This ... also applies to the United States itself."
While Putin says Moscow welcomes constructive criticism, he and his
government have repeatedly dismissed critics who accuse him of backtracking on
democracy and human rights, calling them Cold War throwbacks intent on
International concerns about human rights in Russia increased with the
passage of a law restricting non-government organizations.