Press Releases
Photo Gallery
Print This

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
www.csce.gov
June 5, 2001

HELSINKI COMMISSION HEARING EXAMINES
DOWNWARD SPIRAL IN RUSSIA’S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD

Chechnya, Free Media Also to be Discussed
During Bush-Putin Summit


(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission today held a hearing to examine the current state of human rights in Russia, just over a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin took office.

“Our hope is that Russia will overcome the legacy of the past and achieve the freedom the Russian people deserve,” said Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO). “Indications of a downward trend in Russia’s human rights record were noted by several experts at a Commission hearing held in May of last year, and regrettably the situation has not improved since.”

Chairman Campbell added, “The discovery of dozens of bodies in a mass grave near the main Russian military base in Chechnya is only the most egregious horror in a long line of horrors being visited upon non-combatants in that region. This does not excuse atrocities committed by Chechen forces, or detract from legitimate concerns about conditions in Chechnya after the first war. The gravity of the violations in Chechnya demand our attention in light of Russia’s international obligations, including her OSCE commitments.”

Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) said in prepared remarks, “I am especially concerned about the carnage that continues to take place in Chechnya. The death and destruction continues, taking Chechen and Russian lives and making a peaceful solution appear even less possible.”

“I think we all understand that guerrilla warfare can be savage, and there have been documented instances of atrocities committed by Chechen forces,” Smith added. “However, Russia military actions in Chechnya suggest less of a military operation against an armed secessionist force – or an ‘anti-terrorist operation,’ as Moscow phrases it – than a war against an entire people who are its own citizens.”

“One of the most disturbing events has been the forceful takeover by individuals connected with the Russian Government of the NTV television network, an independent network that had been critical of the Putin administration,” Campbell added. “The pattern of harassment against the few independent news outlets is quite clear.”

Testifying before the Commission today were John Beyrle, Acting Special Advisor to the Secretary for the New Independent States, U.S. Department of State; Dr. Elena Bonner, Chairman, Andrei Sakharov Foundation; Paul Goble, Director of Communications, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty; and Dr. Emil Pain, Galina Starovoitova Fellow on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Center.

Text of opening statements delivered by Commission Members and hearing witnesses are available on the Commission’s web site at www.csce.gov.

Media Contact: Ben Anderson
202.225.1901
# # #

Countries

Russian Federation

Issues

Citizenship and Political Rights
Combating Corruption
Freedom of Association
Freedom of Movement
Freedom of Speech and Expression
Freedom of the Media
Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion or Belief
Rule of Law/Independence of Judiciary


   
 

Recent Press Releases

February 2012

December 2011

November 2011

February 2011

December 2010

Click here for the previous year's Press Releases




Print This

CSCE :: Image Galleries
Please select an image gallery:
02/07/08 Anti-Semitism Hearing (Part 2) 1 Images
04/10/08 Iraqi Refugee Crisis 1 Images
Featured Photos 38 Images

Label for Featured Photo
Featured Photo
The U.S. Delegation visits the Global Seed Vault and is met by Dr. Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, on July 11, 2010.