MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. The authorities must respond properly to the violations of human rights of convicts in penitentiaries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights in Moscow on Thursday.
"We don’t wish to see any riots there. Besides, it is not just the absence of riots that is important. Human rights must be observed. Whatever wrongdoings those people may have committed to have been sentenced to prison terms, they are our citizens and their rights must be guaranteed. An impartial look must be taken at what is happening in that system. If something goes beyond the legal bonds, the reaction of the state must be guaranteed," Putin said.
The president was responding to a statement by the Council’s member, human rights activist Yelena Masyuk, who pointed to a number of flaws in forming non-governmental monitoring boards, empowered to oversee the observance of human rights at Russia’s correctional establishments. Masyuk said the observer boards were usually formed by local civic chambers that have no direct bearing on the protection of human rights. The unprofessionalism of such boards leaves a large loophole for the violations of convicts’ rights, she said. Masyuk is certain that observer panels should be created by human rights commissioners and the presidential council for human rights.
"Certainly, you’ve got a point there. Adjustments should follow. We will give thought to how to go about this business correctly," Putin said in reply.