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The BBC's Claire Doole
"For the second year running Russia has been condemned"
 real 28k

Joanna Weschler, NGO Human Rights Watch
says this resolution will send let the Chechnyans know that the international community has not forgotten them
 real 28k

Friday, 20 April, 2001, 18:51 GMT 19:51 UK
UN condemns Russia over Chechnya
Russian soldiers on duty in Chechnya
Russian soldiers stand accused of human rights abuses
Russia has been condemned by the United Nations for the conduct of its armed forces in Chechnya.

The UN Commission on Human Rights approved a resolution presented by the European Union, overriding vocal objections by countries including Russia and China.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin: Firm line with Chechen rebels

It said Moscow was still using excessive and indiscriminate force in the conflict in the breakaway republic and that there should be a credible investigation into violations of human rights by Russian forces.

The vote was held by the 53-member body during its annual session in Geneva.

'Unacceptable resolution'

Before the vote, Russia's envoy Oleg Malguinov took the floor to reject the "unacceptable" resolution and said that his country would not consider itself to be bound by the text.

Twenty-two countries voted in favour of the resolution and 12 against, with 19 abstentions.

The EU mustered support from members including the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, while Russia's backers included China, India and Nigeria.

It was the second year running the UN had condemned Russia for its military action Chechnya.

'Does not reflect reality'

The EU text "strongly condemns the continued use of disproportionate and indiscriminate force by Russian military forces, federal servicemen and state agents, including attacks against civilians.

It also attacked what it described as serious violations of human rights, such as forced disappearances, extra judicial, summary and arbitrary executions and torture.

It also expressed concern over the "slow pace of investigating alleged serious violations of human rights."

But Mr Malguinov said the resolution did not "reflect reality, developments in the situation, real measures taken by the government and the real perspectives for dealing with the situation."

Failed talks

Talks between the Russian delegation and their EU counterparts had failed to head off the vote.

In presenting the resolution, Sweden's Ambassador Johan Molander, speaking on behalf of the EU, said they welcomed the political will shown by Russia in the five weeks of negotiations.

But he said they regretted that the talks with Russia had not produced a text, which would have secured the consensus of the commission.

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See also:

15 Apr 01 | Europe
Second Chechen official killed
13 Apr 01 | Europe
Top official killed in Chechnya
13 Mar 01 | Media reports
Russia begins Chechnya pullout
29 Nov 00 | Europe
Eyewitness: Chechnya's bitter war
01 Oct 00 | Europe
Analysis: Chechnya one year on
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