WASHINGTON—Leaders of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe today welcomed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s appointment of former journalist Mikhail Fedotov to head the country’s human rights committee.
“I hope Mr. Fedotov’s appointment to head the human rights committee marks the beginning of a new seriousness in Russia to protect investigative journalists and finally get to the bottom of the many unsolved murders of journalists and human rights defenders,” said Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. “From his experience as a journalist, a lawyer in and out of the government, Mr. Fedotov is well-positioned to succeed on his stated goals of judicial and police reforms.”
Fedotov has worked extensively in the information and media fields, including stints as a journalist and columnist. He was most recently the chairman of Russia’s Union of Journalists.
“I hope that Mr. Fedotov will continue to be a strong advocate in defending the dignity and fundamental freedoms of his fellow countrymen in this new position,” said Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL). “The challenges to human rights throughout the world are countless, but we support the efforts symbolized in this appointment and hope it leads to real action to preserve fundamental freedoms in Russia.”
Co-Chairman Hastings introduced a resolution on human rights defenders in Russia this Congress (H.Res. 1539 Link).
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, of the 52 journalists killed in Russia since 1992 more than a third were principally focused on corruption or human rights. Chairman Cardin successfully passed in July a resolution at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly in Oslo aimed at protecting press freedoms and targeted journalists, and the Commission hosted a hearing in June “Threats to Free Media in the OSCE Region,” at which media developments in the Russian Federation featured prominently.