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Thursday, April 21, 2005

 

Council of Europe lambastes Russia

From Reuters AlertNet:

Europe's top human rights watchdog urged Russia on Wednesday to do more to protect press freedoms, punish soldiers who commit serious crimes in Chechnya, and halt a rise in anti-Semitism and racist attacks.

A report released by the Council of Europe did not mention President Vladimir Putin, but faulted Russia's record on human rights and democracy on the same day as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said e had accumulated too much power.

A number of television companies, radio channels and newspapers have been closed down since Putin took power and other media have been brought under the control of the state or firms in which the state is the main shareholder, it said.

Gil-Robles said the situation in Chechnya, where separatist rebels have been fighting Russian troops for six years, had begun to improve over the past year but people continued to disappear there.

While criminal groups and Chechen fighters were behind some of the disappearances, Russian forces and the Chechen police also appeared to be implicated, the report said.

It also said there had been a disturbing a rise in Russia of anti-Semitic attacks, homophobia, and discrimination against people from the Caucasus.

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