YESSENTUKI, Stavropol territory, November 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Alexander Khloponin, the deputy prime minister and plenipotentiary envoy of the Russian President in the North Caucasus Federal District, demanded that interaction of heads of subjects of the District with human rights supporters should strengthen. He said this at a meeting with ombudsmen for human rights in North Caucasus.
Khloponin believes this interaction must become more effective on all territories of the District. Chiefs of subjects of the District should give more attention to the institution of ombudsmen for human rights. “The matter should be treated in a comprehensive way. “People do not yet quite realize that this means assistance to the authorities rather than opposition. This is a road with two-way traffic,” he said.
Besides, he believes that “ombudsmen for human rights must be members of coordinating councils set up at heads of regions.”
“The institution of ombudsmen is meant for the protection of the interests of citizens rather that criticism of the authorities. Ombudsmen should call officials’ attention to what they failed to notice,” Khloponin said.
He said most ombudsmen for human rights meet with organizational and technical problems, lack fund for the maintenance of offices, staff, automobile transport. They at times have no opportunity to travel when there is a signal calling for assistance to sort out matters on the spot. “There is a positive example of the Chechen Republic where there is a staff of 70 persons and considerable funds are allocated and this is done on a legislative basis,” Khloponin said. “But there is a snag in this, as when considerable funds are supplied human rights supporters become dependent on the institutions of power that finance them,” Khloponin noted.
The presidential envoy believes it is necessary to device a system of coping with matters of human rights.
The envoy said ombudsmen in various areas are faced with similar problems every day. There are also specific problems in regions.
Khloponin said human rights violations by law enforcers at the stage of investigation are typical to all areas. Citizens’ complaints against unfair investigation, court hearings and, in some cases, unlawful actions of individual staffers make up 30 percent of all complaints. “Ombudsmen have raised this problem,” he said.
Citizens’ addresses also deal with problems of tariffs for housing and utilities. There are complaints of war veterans against injustice in the distribution of resources for supplying them with housing,
Khloponin said questions of strengthening interaction with human rights supporters will be discussed at the next meeting of the Council of heads of subjects of the Federation in the North Caucasus Federal District due on November 28-29.