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PRESS TOP 5: Wednesday, September 28Press Review September 28, 13:00
A report over the human rights in the United States was discussed at the parliamentary hearings in the State Duma on Monday. The document drafted in the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the US experiences serious problems with the freedom of speech and restricts the election rights of people. The human rights activists and the party partisans believe that the Russian state authorities show this way that the US does not have the right to criticize Russia.
At the parliamentary hearings, which the State Duma Committee for International Affairs organized, the diplomatic officials from the Russian Foreign Ministry presented their first report on the human rights situation in the US, the Kommersant daily reported. The report noted that it was based “on the verified information from authoritative international and domestic sources.” The debates over the observance of the human rights in the US are ripen, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov explained. “The human rights situation in the US is far from being ideal, and sometimes from another epoch at all,” he said. For instance, the Russian high-ranking diplomatic official named the electoral system in the US archaic, “The US approves the legislative acts, which toughen the rules of the access to the polling stations, the election system through the electoral college polls result in the votes of the residents of some states to have a larger weight than the votes of the residents in other states.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry had serious questions to the issues of the access of international observers to the monitoring for voting, as well as “the absolute monopoly of the two parties in the US.” Ryabkov was supported by first deputy head of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Vyacheslav Nikonov, who noted that “the opportunities of small parties are very restricted in the US, as for running in the elections a party should pass registration in each state, meanwhile, this procedure is quite more complicated than the condemned filters at the gubernatorial elections in our country.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the US also has some problems with the freedom of speech and media. The authors of the report cited the international rating agencies, which in 2012 “brought down considerably the level of the freedom of speech in the US that mainly resulted from too tough measures, which the US police have taken against the journalists, who cover the protest actions unsuitable for the US authorities.” The report focused on the excessive use of force by the US police.
Head of the For Human Rights movement Lev Ponomarev told the Kommersant daily that the debates over the US human rights situation in the State Duma is “a certain spectacle,” but “it is already good that our state authorities learnt to say the words ‘human rights’.” “I am well acquainted with the human rights situation in the US, certainly, they also have some problems, but we should compare it. For instance, the violence exists in the prisons in the US and our country. But in our country the tortures and murders are committed by the prison authorities, and the convicts settle the scores there,” Ponomarev noted. As for the criticism, which the Russian Foreign Ministry levels on the US election system, the human rights activist called this as ‘an anecdote’.
Even in case of Republican candidate Romney coming to power the human rights situation will not mainly change, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Vyacheslav Nikonov told the Vedomosti daily. “The death penalty will not be abolished. Obama pledged to shut down the Guantanamo prison, but did not close it, though during the Democratic rule the chances to close it are higher, and the situation with Russian children is hopeless. The Democrats cope better with the problems over the discrimination of the minorities.”
Last spring the State Duma held similar hearings over the human rights violations in Europe. Other hearings are not planned yet, Nikonov said. This is a question of some symmetrical responses, he explained.