Russia lashes out at US over human rights report

The Russian statement accused Washington of double standards and of violating the rights of both US and world citizens.

Putin 298 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
Putin 298 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Moscow criticized the US State Department's annual report on global human rights Friday, saying its assessment of the situation in Russia was skewed, confrontational and aimed at furthering US political interests. In a bitter statement that reflected persistent strains between the Cold War foes, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused Washington of double standards, and suggested the United States was preaching to the world while violating the rights of its own citizens and others across the globe. The report is "nonobjective, politicized and in many ways confrontational," the statement said, claiming that it aims to lead a reader to "draw concrete negative conclusions" about Russia and contains "skewed perceptions of the real situation, outdated information, intentional vagueness and citations of biased sources." The statement did not mention any specific information in the State Department report, which was released earlier this week. The US report says that Russia's human rights record deteriorated over the last year as President Vladimir Putin's government centralized power, restricted free speech and killed and abused civilians in and around Chechnya. The ministry statement said Russia has complained to the State Department in the past over "the politicized evaluation of the human rights situation in Russia, which has been repeated year after year," but that "it seems a persistent practice of not taking that into account has developed in Washington." Amid US criticism of Russia over human rights, the progress of democracy and energy policy under Putin, ties between the two countries have been further strained in recent weeks by US plans to place missile defense facilities in former Soviet satellite states in Europe. The ministry said Russia had expected the report to be prejudiced. "Washington has long practiced double standards in the sphere of human rights, depending on whether one state or another acts in accordance with (US) political interests," the statement said. "These standards are particularly clearly visible against the background of what is happening now in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the military base in Guantanamo with the participation of the US armed forces." At home, the statement said, "the United States under various pretexts limits democratic freedoms, interferes in the personal lives of its own people, effectively carries out censorship of the media and sends minors to the electric chair." It said the US report was based partially on "tendentiously conveyed" information from a reports by Russia's human rights ombudsman, saying: "By the way, unlike in Russia, in the United States such official reports - on the human rights situation in its own country - are not produced."