[JURIST] The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) [official website] issued a report on Wednesday strongly criticizing the human rights record of a number of countries including the United States. Twenty pages of the 90-page report focus on the United States [AP report], and list a number of practices and conditions that the MFA views as violations of basic human rights. Among the concerns raised were alleged invasions of personal privacy, purported mistreatment of Muslim Americans since the 9/11 terror attacks [JURIST Feature] and judicial errors which have permitted innocent people to be convicted of capital crimes. The MFA report also highlights the “notorious” military prison at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] and rebukes US President Barack Obama [official profile] for “legalizing indefinite and extrajudicial custody” of those prisoners. The report also criticizes Canada, European Union nations, and some former Soviet states. It excludes the Middle East and Asia. Some of the MFA report’s concerns surrounding capital punishment and the Guantanamo Bay prison [JURIST op-eds] have been voiced by JURIST contributors.
This report marks the first time that the MFA has issued a statement regarding the state of affairs of human rights in other countries, although Russia has been criticized internationally and by its own citizens for its human rights record. Earlier this month, the Russia Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights called for the annulment [JURIST report] of the conviction of ex-oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive]. Also this month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official website, in Russian; JURIST news archive] ordered an investigation into allegations of fraud [JURIST report] in recent parliamentary elections. Earlier, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) [official website] issued preliminary findings [JURIST report] that the Russian election was “characterized by frequent procedural violations and instances of apparent manipulation.” The US State Department [official website] and other world leaders have also called for an investigation into the allegations of election fraud and expressed concern over “harassment” of election monitoring groups.