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Russia rejects US report on human rights, accuses USA of double standards

Moscow, 12 March: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has said that the US State Department report on the human rights situation is full of unsubstantiated accusations and once again demonstrates "double standards" in Washington's policy.

"The latest US State Department report on the human rights situation in the world once again restates in a lecturing tone the stock invectives against Russia: departure from democratic principles in state governance, persecution of dissenters, suppression of the freedom of speech and the press," says a commentary issued by the information and press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday (12 March) in connection with the US State Department report on the human rights situation in the world.

"Many passages are copied from previous reports; the impression is that the State Department simply collected facts to suit the conclusions formulated in advance," the Russian Foreign Ministry says.

"Unfortunately, the document abounds in unsubstantiated allegations, references to unverified and clearly partisan sources, errors and the juggling of facts, including in respect of recent events," the commentary says.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reminds the US colleagues, who claim that the State Duma election in December did not meet OSCE standards, that "the politicized approach of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has never been approved by the member states of the OSCE as mandatory rules of conduct."

"Meanwhile the USA and other Western countries refuse to draw up and approve definitive and clear-cut principles," Moscow says.

"The report is another demonstration of "double standards" in the US policy on human rights. In it, there is a clear division of human rights for internal and external consumption," the Smolenskaya Ploshchad (square in Moscow, address of the Russian Foreign Ministry) stresses.

"How else can one explain that the United States - which has in effect legalized torture, which uses capital punishment against minors, which denies responsibility for was crimes and mass violations of human rights in Iraq and Afghanistan, which refuses to accede to a number of treaties on human rights - distorts the situation in other countries in its comments? Meanwhile the USA claim to be fighting to spread democracy and to be protecting human rights throughout the world, despite systemic problems within the country," the commentary says.

"As a matter of fact, we never expected the latest piece from the State Department to assess the human rights situation in Russia objectively. After all, the USA has long viewed human rights as a foreign policy tool," the Russian Foreign Ministry stresses.

"We are convinced that politicizing the human rights issue and distorting the human rights situation in various countries does not help resolve existing problems but leads instead to the devaluation of the principles and objectives of international cooperation in this sphere," the document says.

At the same time the Russian Foreign Ministry reiterates that Russia is open to dialogue on human rights with the interested states, both in a bilateral format and within international organizations.

"In particular, we believe that the procedure for a universal periodic review of the human rights situation in all the countries of the world, which has been devised by the UN council for human rights, will make it possible to discuss all the existing problems without on a regular basis bias or prejudice with the aim of settling them together," the commentary says.

"We wait with interest for a UN report on the observance of human rights in the USA. After all, in the USA itself, unlike Russia, reports are not issued (sentence as received)," Moscow notes.