European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)
Newsletter No. 50: 1-14 January 2005
According to the Human Rights World Report 2005, published this week, last year saw further erosion of fundamental rights that underpin Russia’s democracy. The crisis in Chechnya continues unabated with both sides committing numerous and unpunished human rights abuses. HRW accuses the government of failing to take on Russia’s numerous entrenched human rights
problems, including widespread police torture and violent hazing in the armed forces. According to the New York based organization, President Putin presided over slow but deliberate moves to marginalize opposition forces and gradually established control over television channels and other key news sources. The report recognises however significant improvement in the prison system, where overcrowding has eased. HRW accuses the European Union of failing to follow up on its declared intentions to influence human rights developments in Russia in a clear and forthright manner. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe continued to be one of the few international bodies willing to frankly assess the situation in Chechnya, says the report. Full text available online (HRW).