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Amnesty Says Medvedev Fails To Improve Human Rights Situation

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev took office one year ago today, pledging to enhance the rule of law and respect human rights.

Instead, the rights watchdog Amnesty International says, little has been done to improve the human rights situation – and in some areas it has even worsened.

"In the course of the last year, President Medvedev set several goals," says Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s secretary-general. "However, no significant changes are yet visible."

Impunity prevails both for human rights violations by law enforcement officials and for attacks against civil society activists, journalists and lawyers, Amnesty says.

The right to assembly has been frequently violated in many places across the Russian Federation, while threats and physical attacks on activists, lawyers, journalists, opposition members are rising and in some cases have even led to the killing of human rights advocates, such as Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova.

Amnesty says that Medvedev has made statements recently to journalists and human rights activists that "give rise to hope that improvement of the human rights situation is possible."

Khan says "concrete actions are needed to prove that [Medvedev] is doing more than paying lip service to reforms, that his statements amount to more than window dressing.”