Russia Sees No Reason for 59th Session of UN Human Rights Commission to Discuss Chechnya

Russia believes the situation in Chechnya needs not to be discussed at the 59th session of the UN Human Rights Commission. This is all the more true against the background of the positive changes that can be seen during the preparations for the referendum, deputy foreign minister Yuri Fedotov said on Monday.

According to him, the Russian side proceeds from the assumption that last year's voting, which led to declining the draft resolution submitted by the European Union, "closed" this theme at the Human Rights Commission. Besides, the Chechen issue is not on the agenda of the current session.

Fedotov opined that such factors as the Iraqi crisis, the situation in the Middle East and, on the broader scale, the impact of the anti-terrorist move on human rights will influence the work of the session.

He believes that a number of specific issues, including the influence of globalisation on human rights, countering racism, and ensuring the rights of minorities will be actively discussed. The first speeches of the session participants, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira De Mello, set the problems of combating AIDS, achieving women's equality with men, and overcoming poverty, Fedotov pointed out.

The Russian delegation will collaborate in a constructive way with all participants in the session, and will take into account the interests of all groups of states.

Within the framework of such an approach Russia is going to actively set at the forum such priority issues as the life of countrymen abroad, countering any manifestation of extremism, the struggle against the violation of human rights by terrorists, the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

He also stressed that the discussion in the Commission of the initiative advanced by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on elaborating the code of defending human rights from terrorism has become especially urgent.

Apart from participating in the "high level segment" of the 59th session - the meeting of heads and executive representatives of states and UN ad-hock agencies where he is expected to speak on March 20 - Fedotov will have a number of business meetings in Geneva, including with the UN High Commissioners for Human Rights and Refugees.

On Monday, he had a conversation with President of the International Red Cross Committee Jakob Kellenberger. The sides discussed questions connected with the Committee's work in Russia, in particular in the North Caucasus.