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Russia’s Human Rights Record Subject of Helsinki Commission Briefing

WASHINGTON – The United States Helsinki Commission will review Russia’s record on free speech, religious liberty and criminal justice during a Capitol Hill briefing on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 in cooperation with the Moscow Helsinki Group and the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews. The briefing will look beyond Moscow’s efforts to improve its human rights record and survey the level of respect for human rights in 60 of Russia’s 89 regions.

Human Rights in Russia Today
Tuesday, September 19, 2000
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
2255 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

Panelists:
Ludmilla Alexeyeva, an original member and current Chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG)
Micah Naftalin, National Director, Union of Councils of Soviet Jews (UCSJ)
Viktor Lozinsky, Chairman, NGO Initiative Group for the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords, Ryazan, Russia

Accompanying Ms. Alexeyeva and Mr. Naftalin will be Daniel Meshcheryakov, Manager of Operations MHG, and Leonid Stonov, Director, International Human Rights Bureaus, UCSJ. Ms. Alexeyeva and Mr. Naftalin will officially release the MHG/UCSJ annual report, “Human Rights Situation in the Russian Federation, 1999.” The report is based on year-long monitoring conducted in 60 Russian regions through the efforts of local human rights NGOs in Russia and coordinated by the Moscow Helsinki Group. This annual report will cover human rights developments in1999. Mr. Lozinsky will provide additional commentary.

Noting concern and inconsistency of protection of human rights, the monitoring effort was initiated with a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and continuing support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The report covers a broad range of human dimension issues from freedoms of speech and press, religious liberty, corruption and torture in the justice system, to the ill treatment of children and military personnel, and prison conditions. The Moscow Helsinki Group was founded in May 1976 to further compliance in the Soviet Union with the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act, also known as the Helsinki Accords. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Final Act on August 1, 1975, launching a process dedicated to advancing democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in a region stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok. A resolution recognizing the 25th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act was passed by the United States Senate and is scheduled for consideration by the House of Representatives next week.

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