Council of Europe Looks for Evidence of Russia’s Commitment to Human Rights

The Associated Press reports on a Council of Europe delegation currently visiting Russia on a fact-finding trip to ascertain whether or not the Federation is living up to its member obligations to the Council in terms of human rights:

Luc Van den Brande and Teodoros Pangalos, of the Parliamentary Assembly to the Council of Europe, met with law enforcers and human rights activists to gauge whether Russia is meeting its obligations as a member of the council, which Moscow joined in 1996. “Human rights is not just a question of defense, but also of active promotion,” Van den Brande said Wednesday. “Education is very important in this.” Van den Brande also said that Russia needs to adopt legislation that would allow independent rights groups to work effectively. “The country has to improve and empower civil society,” he said.

The report didn’t indicate whether or not the delegation would visit FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev, who has justified the state’s crackdown on NGOs as a security issue – accusing them of housing foreign spies.