U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has concluded her five-day visit to Russia with, unsurprisingly, little in the way of compliments for the Russian government’s stance. The scant praise she did offer was to President Medvedev for his ‘efforts’, albeit affirming they have yielded little success. From UN news:
Ms. Pillay said her discussions with President Dmitry Medvedev earlier this week, and with various top officials, have included some “very frank” analyses of the reforms that are being undertaken, are under consideration, or are still needed, to key institutions relating to the rule of law and the fight against corruption and discrimination. These include the police, judiciary, General Prosecutor’s office, penitentiary system and military.
“I appreciate that in my discussions with the President, and most of the ministries and state officials, there was no attempt to downplay the challenges facing the Government in its efforts to revamp a system in which human rights are still a long way from being consistently respected in accordance with international standards, and with Russia’s own laws and Constitution,” she stated.
“There is some recognition at the top that, across Russia today, thereis a serious deficit in public trust in key institutions which should beupholding the rule of law, and instead are all too often disregardingit.
“There has undoubtedly been some progress, but also some serioussetbacks – including murders, intimidation and harassment of humanrights defenders and investigative journalists and independent media,and apparent serious miscarriages of justice,” she noted.
Ms. Pillay added that the extent and speed with which the new Law onPolice, which will enter into force on 1 March, results in genuinechange in the conduct of the police will be a “litmus test” for thepotential for meaningful reform in other areas.
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