Friday, February 27, 2009

Russia rejects 'double standards' in U.S. rights report

Moscow has rejected a critical U.S. State Department report on human rights as "double standards," the foreign ministry said Thursday. "We were not surprised to see the arsenal of simple approaches that have been used before and are aimed at forming a consistent negative attitude toward Russia as a chief rights violator," the ministry said in a statement.

"It is no secret that the United States use double standards in human rights sphere, depending on how loyal this or that state is to Washington's foreign policies and methods in defending democracy and human rights," the statement read. Russia condemned "using documents of some international non-governmental organisations whose political bias and financing source are well known," as well as "odious appraisal of Russia's effort to defend its citizens and peacekeepers in South Ossetia."

The U.S. criticized Russia's "disproportionate force" in a "military invasion" of neighboring Georgia last year in support of pro-Russian separatists fighting Georgian troops.
U.S. criticism "did not hold any water, especially considering known facts of U.S. violation of international law while "promoting democratic values" in former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq," the ministry said.

"In view of the new U.S. administration's remarks on readiness to hold a mutually respectful and constructive dialogue with other states, we would like to hope that Washington will adjust its attitude in preparing such reports," the ministry added. In an annual report on human rights worldwide, Washington said that Russia's 2008 election of President Dmitry Medvedev was "not free and not fair" due to media bias and "abuse of administrative resources."

The report highlighted brutal security operations in the troubled North Caucasus region, as well as state corruption and attacks on journalists, and singled out torture allegedly conducted under Chechnya's Kremlin-installed leader Ramzan Kadyrov. The reports on ex-Soviet countries were part of a major annual State Department survey of human rights around the world, including both foes and countries closely allied to the United States.

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