President’s council to size up Russia’s human rights situation

Mikhail Fedotov
A special working group will oversee compliance with the Constitution’s Chapter 2 that guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms to all people.

­The group has been set up by the presidential council on human rights, its head Mikhail Fedotov said during an internet conference on Wednesday. The situation with human rights is “far from being what we would like to see,” he noted.

There is a problem “with observing many human rights” that are inscribed in Chapter 2 of the Russian Constitution, the official said. The working group is expected to develop proposals on measures that should be taken in the short- and medium-term to make human rights set in the Constitution “really work.”

Fedotov gave the example of the Article 21 that states that “nothing can serve as a basis for the derogation of human dignity.” This is often perceived as “something ephemeral, as this does not concern the right to housing, pensions or healthcare.” Even lawmakers confuse dignity with honor, merits and business reputation.

Relevant legislative measures could change law enforcement practices, Fedotov believes. “We need to form a new attitude in the society,” he noted, adding that it was an extremely difficult task.

The country needs a good legislation “for human rights to work,” the council’s head said. A civil society emerges when many people with a great self-esteem appear, he said. The current legislation, which is “not bad,” still has contradictions and gaps in some cases.

Fedotov also stressed the need for a modernized education system, including a pre-school one, which may help form “legal culture” in society.