UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pays visit to Moscow
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed her gratitude to Russian government for efforts aimed at developing civil society institutions. However, during a press-briefing Mrs. Pillay urged Moscow to ensure better the security of human rights activists and journalists.
During her first visit to Moscow Mrs. Pillay had talks with President Dmitry Medvedev, as well as with the chairman of the Supreme Court and other high-ranking officials.
Navi Pillay worked as lawyer in South Africa for decades, defending anti-Apartheid activists. When in Moscow, she visited a public center named after Andrei Sakharov, where she talked to Russian human rights activists. She stressed that public organizations have started to play a more active role in Russia. She said she appreciated the fact that during the talks her Russian colleagues made no attempts to underestimate those challenges the country has been facing in terms of human rights protection…
"I also commend the President for his clear vision and public statements concerning the importance of such reforms as part of the modernization process, and believe there is some recognition at the top that, across Russia today, there is a serious deficit in public trust in key institutions which should be upholding the rule of law, and instead are all too often disregarding it."
President Dmitry Medvedev has recently initiated a reform of the Interior Ministry, as well as of judicial and penal systems. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights welcome a new Russian law “On police”, which is due to take effect on March 1. Mrs. Pillay believes that changes this law is expected to bring will demonstrate the ability of Russian authorities to carry out effective reforms.
"I warmly welcome the scope and content of the law, which incorporates international standards such as the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, and the way in which the Government opened it up for public debate and took into account the views of civil society during the drafting process."
By the way, Mrs. Pillay proposed her own amendments to this law…
"As a contribution to this important new law, I have offered advice and international expertise to help set up video monitoring of police handling of suspects, especially during interrogations, in an effort to prevent ill-treatment, torture and other human rights violations."
Cooperation between state and society is one of keys to successful implementation of all tasks Russia is facing nowadays. Public and non-governmental organizations, including those dealing with human rights protection and religious freedom, have been operating in Russia more freely in recent years. Dozens of foreign organizations are among them. These NGOs assist federal authorities in dealing with problems of refugees and people with low income, as well as help improve the situation with unemployment and child homelessness.