HRW report on Russia’s human rights record biased – Naryshkin

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

LUXEMBOURG. Feb 5 (Interfax) – State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Human Rights Watch is a politically-biased organization.

“Human Rights Watch has long entered Russia on the list of countries with an inferior human rights record,” Naryshkin told reporters in Luxembourg, when asked to comment on the HRW’s most recent report.

The HRW’s activities were discussed in the most general context, he said, speaking about a discussion at the Luxembourg parliament, adding that the report gives a “politically-biased and prescribed opinion of Russia.”

“All of us should gradually leave the memories of the Cold War alone and rid ourselves of the philosophical and psychological aspects of that war,” he said.

Elaborating on human rights abuses, Naryshkin said that Russia is concerned about the situation in some countries in Europe and Asia, first of all in the Baltic republics. “Hundreds of thousands of citizens in Latvia are deprived of fundamental rights, first of all the right to vote,” Naryshkin said.

Naryshkin proposed that the observance of human rights be better addressed at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is to make decisions “on the most flagrant instances of human rights abuses.”

The Russian parliament “strongly advocates respect for human rights,” he said.

Commenting on the criticism of some bills passed in the State Duma, including the bill on foreign agents and on tighter requirements for organizers of mass rallies, he remarked that these bills should not be judged from media reports. “The bills you are talking about should be read first. You will get a clear idea of them, which is a lot better than listening to organizations with a dubious reputation, or non-experts,” Naryshkin said.

Naryshkin said he had urged Luxembourg lawmakers to deal more scrupulously with laws. “Whenever you want to find out whether a book or a theater production is good or bad, you must read the book first, or go to the theater,” he said.