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MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, in a secret vote on Friday endorsed MP Tatyana Moskalkova as the country’s new human rights commissioner.
A total of 323 MPs backed Moskalkova above the required minimum of 226 votes. Eleven MPs voted against her candidacy and one lawmaker abstained. The candidacy of Moskalkova had been proposed by A Just Russia party.
Moskalkova is the deputy chairperson of the Duma committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) affairs, Eurasian integration and communications with compatriots.
A total of five candidates from the Duma opposition fractions and one self-nominated candidate had been considered. The ruling United Russia faction, the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, and the Russian president did not use the right to nominate candidates.
Last month, Russia’s former human rights commissioner Ella Pamfilova, who had held the post since 2014, was elected as the head of Russia’s Central Election Commission. Russia’s first human rights ombudsman Sergey Kovalev was appointed to the post in 1994. The human rights ombudsman in Russia can serve for up to five years. One person cannot be elected for more than two terms in a row.
In her address to the State Duma on Friday, Moskalkova said if she is elected to the post she plans to fight against the attempts of the West to use the human rights issue for blackmail and speculations.
"Today the human rights issue has been actively used by Western and American bodies as a weapon of blackmail, speculations, threats, attempts to destabilize and exert pressure on Russia. The human rights commissioner has enough tools to counter this," she said.
Moskalkova said she will focus on labor relations in Russia as employers fail to meet their commitments on paying salaries. Other important areas are medicine, education, housing and public utilities, migration and penal system, she said. The compatriots living abroad also need support of the human rights commissioner, she stressed. "The Russian-language schools are closed, the Russian citizens living abroad are deprived of simple rights - political, social and economic and others and the ombudsman should deal with this problem, this will be an important human rights issue."