[JURIST] The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) [official website] criticized the US human rights record, including the indefinite detention of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainees, in a report [text, PDF] made public on their website Sunday. The 90-page report, which addresses human rights issues throughout the world, dedicates 20 pages to the situation in the US, and calls the situation in Guantanamo “the main outstanding [human rights] issue” in the US. The report also alleged growing racial discrimination problems, unacceptable prison conditions and erosion of citizens’ rights:
Longstanding systematic problems of the American society are aggravating, such as racial discrimination, xenophobia, overcrowded prisons, unreasoned use of death penalties, in particular with respect to innocent, minor and mentally disabled persons, as well as flawed electoral system and corruption. There has been a sharp worsening of situation concerning the fulfillment of basic social and economic rights of citizens, including collective bargaining rights. Permanent deficits of federal and local budgets revealed gaps in the judicial system, including inadequate access to justice.
The report criticizes President Barack Obama [official website] for revising his stance on Guantanamo prison [JURIST comment], and failing to expand basic human rights during his presidency. In addition to the US, the report addresses human rights concerns in Germany, France, Great Britain, Poland, Canada and other states.
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. In December, the Russian 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 in December, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official website, in Russian] 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.