Washington, 19 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Jewish activists from Russia and the newly-independent states told an American human rights organization over the weekend that some of the new countries were working hard to protect human rights but many were failing to live up to their obligations.
As a result, the organization, the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, says Jewish emigration continues at the pace of the last several years. Roughly, 100,000 Jews left the former Soviet Union in 1993 and 1994, 85,874 left in 1995, and some 69,150 left in the first nine months of 1996.
Speaking to the annual meeting of the Councils, activists from the seven bureaus that body maintains in the post-Soviet states suggested that the status of Jews varies ever more widely among the 15 former republics.
These activists singled out Ukraine for particular praise for Kyiv's openness in dealing with Jewish groups and willingness to work on problems in that country.
The group met with senior American officials at the White House and the State Department and also heard from specialists on the region.
Among the latter were Inna Arolovich, the vice president of the American Association of Russian Jews, and Rabbi Yaacov Shteierman, director of Yad Yisroel, a Brooklyn-based organization that provides assistance to Jewish groups in the former Soviet Union.
The group also announced the creation of a Union of Councils web site linking the seven bureaus in the former Soviet Union.