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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mironov Critical of Rights Abuses

Human rights ombudsman Oleg Mironov accused the government Tuesday of serious human rights violations, echoing similar criticism from the U.S. State Department made a day earlier in an annual human rights report.

The United States took one of President Vladimir Putin's favorite phrases — "dictatorship of law" — and used it against him to slam Russia's human rights record in 2000.

Despite some signs the law was becoming an important tool to protect rights, serious problems remained, the report said.

"While the president made statements about the need for a 'dictatorship of law,' the government has not institutionalized the rule of law required to protect human rights," it said.

"Most abuses occur at lower levels, but government officials do not investigate the majority of cases of abuse and rarely dismiss or discipline the perpetrators."

It said the government had made no progress in implementing constitutional provisions for due process, fair and timely trial and humane punishment.

Click here to read our Special Report on Human Rights in Russia.

"In addition, the judiciary often was subject to manipulation by central and local political authorities and was plagued by large case backlogs and trial delays," it said.

Though the report drew no conclusions about Putin's own commitment to human rights, it pulled no punches when it came to his campaign against rebels in Chechnya.

"Numerous credible reports of human rights abuses by Russian forces in Chechnya, which included extrajudicial killings, torture and rape, provoked widespread condemnation and calls for accountability," it said.

Mironov focused largely on Chechnya at Tuesday's meeting with European diplomats, saying "civilians in Chechnya have gone through terrible hardships and their rights have been violated."

Mironov criticized Moscow for limiting the number of mainstream religions and failing to halt arbitrary arrests, corrupt elections and capital punishment.

He also alleged that security services had won increasing clout in Russia and said that laws giving them broad powers must be amended.

"Representatives of these structures have felt that they again can rise to the surface and influence society." (Reuters, AP)

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/indexes/132.html See our special report on human rights in Russia.