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Status of Human Rights in Russia Focus of Helsinki Commission Hearing

Washington – The United States Helsinki Commission will conduct a hearing to assess the state of human rights and civil liberties in Russia since President Vladimir Putin took office just over one year ago. The hearing will be held in advance of the first summit scheduled for President Putin and President George W. Bush.

Troubling Trends: Human Rights in Russia
Tuesday, June 5, 2001
9:30 – 11:30 AM
334 Cannon House Office Building

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

The fate of civil liberties and human rights in Russia have been increasingly in question since President Vladimir Putin took office in January 2000.

Recent human rights concerns in Russia include the brutal and continuing war in Chechnya, the takeover of the NTV television network and general pressures on the media, and apparent attempts by Russian security services to intimidate scientists and environmental activists.

In the latest Freedom House assessment of the state of freedom in the world, Russia was rated “partially free.” But freedom in Russia has declined since the re-establishment of Russia’s independence in 1991, according to the Freedom House rating.

President Bush will meet with President Putin in Slovenia on June 16 to discuss missile defense and human rights issues. In preparations for the summit, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said he raised concerns with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov regarding the situation in Chechnya. Ivanov has purportedly promised that Russia would allow an assistance group from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to return to the region.

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