Russian Foreign Ministry criticizes US State Department human rights report

Text of "Comment by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs plenipotentiary representative for human rights, democracy and the supremacy of law, K.K. [Konstantin Konstantinovich] Dolgov, on the US Department of State ‘Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011’," published on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on 28 May

We are closely studying the annual "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011", released by the US Department of State. The preliminary analysis of that document shows that it suffers from the same shortcomings as previous such reports.

We believe that the reports’ most serious failing is their now customary abuse of humanitarian and human rights issues to suit the political interests of the USA, selective hackneyed evaluations and active use of double standards. In addition, it is not always clear what the sources are for some of the contentious findings by the authors.

There is still a lopsided and artificially embellished portrayal of the situation concerning the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in "developed democracies", which, as many reputable human rights organizations note, have major problems with the observance of fundamental democratic standards, including freedom of conscience, religion, the media, assembly and association, movement and others.

It is especially bewildering that the Department of State experts are continuing to ignore numerous recommendations by international human rights structures to the leaderships of Latvia and Estonia to eradicate the problem of "non-citizens", which is disgraceful for modern Europe. The hundreds of thousands of Russian-speaking residents of those countries, who have become victims of discriminatory policies by the authorities, are being portrayed as being themselves guilty of having been deprived of citizenship. This stance by the authors cannot be called anything other than cynical falsification.

The presentation of the human rights situation in countries of the Middle East and North Africa in the context of the so-called "Arab Spring" is lopsided. For example, in the case of Libya, the main emphasis is essentially placed on justifying the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights committed by NATO in the course of the military campaign in that country.

The section on Russia is not marked by objectivity either. The American partners, unfortunately, are unwilling to take note of the large-scale work that the Russian leadership is carrying out in the context of improving the political and justice systems, reform of the law-enforcement bodies and correctional institutions, and the fight against corruption. As for the presence of problems in the human rights sphere, not a single country, as is known, is immune from them.

In this context, the report is again marked by the conspicuous absence of analysis of human rights in the USA itself, whose record in the human rights area is far from perfect. If the authors lay claim to the report being geographically comprehensive, they should be consistent.

We hope that the American side will in future adopt a more objective and balanced approach in the human rights sphere. We reaffirm our openness to the development of constructive and equal dialogue and cooperation with the USA in this area.

[Dated] 28 May 2012

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, Moscow, in Russian 28 May 12

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