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Pushkov says US’ criticism of Russian law on ‘undesirable organizations’ staggering

May 25, 2015, 0:12 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia lawmaker said Washington had lost the moral right to say anything about human rights situation in other countries after it had ignored Kiev’s refusal to guarantee human rights in Donbass

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MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. Alexei Pushkov, the chairman of the international committee of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, said on Sunday he was shocked by the United States’ criticism of Russia’s recently adopted law on "undesirable organizations."

He said Washington had lost the moral right to say anything about human rights situation in other countries after it had ignored Kiev’s refusal to guarantee human rights in Donbass.

Earlier, the United States Department of State expressed its concern over this law which may further complicate the situation with civil society.

"Criticism of the U.S. Department of State is staggering by its absolute unscrupulousness," Pushkov told TASS. "If the State Department is so concerned about human rights, they’d better stop and think what to say about the Kiev authorities’ official refusal to ensure human rights across Ukraine."

He said it was a kind of test "for both the U.S. administration and European governments who are so anxious about human rights in all other cases." He noted that even the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) had turned a blind eye on Ukraine’s decision to suspend the human right convention in Donbass. It means, he said, that PACE "is discrediting itself as a human rights organization."

But having ignored "the absolutely scandalous, blatant violation of Ukraine’s international human rights liabilities, the United States was quick to react to Russia’s new law on non-government organizations," the Russian lawmaker said. "And we know it only too well that this law threatens no one’s life, well-being and civil rights. Whereas these things are not merely questioned but are in jeopardy as a result of the Ukrainian government’s actions."

So, it is hard to escape a conclusion that the U.S. administration is using the principle of observing human rights as an instrument of pressure against states they have strained relations with. "And in case of countries they have allied or friendly relations with, the United States opts to turn a blind eye on any violations of international liabilities, human rights and so on," Pushkov noted.

He drew parallels with the United States’ policy towards Arab countries. "It is secret to no one that the United States supports the most accomplished dictatorial regimes in the Arab world and speaks against other Arab rulers who don’t follow political advice from America," he said.

"So, this is yet another fact evidencing the United States’ absolutely functional and cynical use of human rights subjects. I think the United States is losing any moral right to judge other countries on issues of human rights once it stayed silent about Kiev’s laws on withdrawing an entire region from the international convention on human rights," he underscored.

The law that was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday and posted on the official web portal of legal information says that a foreign or international, but only non-governmental (NGO), organization can be recognized as undesirable if it "poses a threat to fundamentals of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, to the country’s defence capacity and security." A decision to this effect is passed by Russia’s prosecutor general or his deputies in coordination with the Russian Foreign Ministry. The Ministry of Justice is to be in charge of making up lists of ‘undesirable organizations’ and of publishing them.

The law imposes, in particular, a ban on activities, setting up and opening of structural subdivisions of an ‘undesirable organization’ in the Russian Federation and distribution of its information materials.

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