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12 Mar, 2010 15:24

Moscow hits back at US human rights accusations

The Russian Foreign Ministry has fiercely criticized the US State Department report on Human Rights and suggested that they comment on “tortures” and “humiliation” within their own country.

The State Department annual survey on human rights, issued Thursday, blamed Russia for corruption in law enforcement, “weakened freedom of expression and media independence” and said 2009 was marked by “numerous reports of governmental and societal human rights problems and abuses.” It also said local government and insurgents in Russia’s Caucasus were reportedly “engaged in killings, torture, abuse, violence, politically-motivated abductions, and other brutal or humiliating treatment”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted the very next day, having carefully read the report, and published a statement on its official website.

"Everything in the report is traditional and even habitual: approaches, theses, conclusions, and informers,’ it reads. In this respect we have not noticed any significant difference despite the “reset” in our relations declared by the current Administration," the site asserts.

According to the Russian side, it is no secret that the idea of “this opus” is first of all “to solve internal problems of the US establishment by using the delicate matter of human rights to build the necessary political framework for pursuing very concrete material foreign-policy interests.”

The Foreign Ministry welcomed the State Department’s intention, announced earlier, to publish a report on the human rights situation in the US, and said they were hoping that both facts and criticism would be reflected in that survey.

“For instance, it would be interesting to see how the body…comments on tortures, [and the] inhumane and humiliating attitude to people in the USA,” the statement said. “We hope they will not forget about domestic violence that leads to killings of children – including those adopted in Russia – cases of racism and xenophobia towards immigrants, Islamophobia, privacy violation by secret services and restrictions imposed on journalists covering US operations abroad.”

Finally, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed hope that the American report will recommend introducing the institution of ombudsman in the US and the joining of a number of international human rights agreements.

The US State Department report is a massive piece of work covering the human rights situation in 194 countries.