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RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Russian Federation: Implement recommendations of Human Rights Council

6 Feb 2009
Region: RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Topic: International human rights law
The Russian authorities must accept and implement the recommendations put forward by other states and adopted today by the UN Human Rights Council with a view of improving the country’s human rights situation, Amnesty International said.
“If implemented, these recommendations would ensure a thriving civil society where the freedoms of expression, assembly and association can be freely enjoyed and where there is accountability for all acts of racism, torture or other ill-treatment and other human rights abuses” said Martin Macpherson, International Organizations Programme Director at Amnesty International..

During the review of Russia’s human rights record on 4 February, a large number of states called for thorough investigations of the recent murders of independent journalist Anastasia Baburova and human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. States raised the need to strengthen initiatives to combat extremism and hate crimes, primarily aimed at national and ethnic minorities. Serious concerns were also raised about the situation of human rights in the North Caucasus, including the commission of acts of torture, enforced disappearances and unlawful killings.

The recommendations contained in paragraph 85 of the report adopted in the Human Rights Council Working Group include:
• To accede to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture;
• To take further measures to ensure the security of journalists and human rights defenders and to bring and perpetrators of crimes against them to justice;
• To provide access to Ingushetia and the North Caucasus for the UN Working Group on enforced disappearances and the Special Rapporteurs on torture and on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions;
• To abolish the death penalty;
• To create an environment to promote the right to freedom of assembly and to encourage citizens to freely express their views;
• To take measures to ensure the rights of ethnic minorities.

"Now is the time to address these issues in a meaningful way", Martin Macpherson said .

"It is high time to make real the promises made by the Russian Federation to protect human rights."

Background:
Under the Universal Periodic Review, by which the Human Rights Council reviews the human rights record of all UN member-states, Russia presented its report to and answered questions from members and observer states of the Human Rights Council. National and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, submitted their own reports to the Council. The Council also had before it a compilation of UN information about the human rights situation in Russia. After reviewing the submitted information, during the inter-active dialogue, participating states recommended measures to improve the human rights situation in the Russian Federation.

6 February 2009

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