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UN Says Russia Must Better Protect Cultural Rights

Farida Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
Farida Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
The United Nations' special rapporteur on cultural rights has called on Russia to better protect the diversity of its citizens and their ability to participate in cultural life.

Farida Shaheed, who on April 26 completed her first visit to Russia, told RFE/RL that Moscow must ensure that "conditions always exist for people to continuously create their culture."

In a statement, she said she was "disturbed" by reports of artists being persecuted by the authorities for challenging dominant religious symbols and values.

Shaheed also said more should be done to ensure Russian history is interpreted in a "multifaceted" way.

She also called for "urgent" consultations that include local communities on a plan to build a natural-gas pipeline over the Ukok Plateau in the Altai region, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Shaheed's 12-day visit to Russia took her to Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Altai region, and Tatarstan.

Written by Richard Solash, with RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service
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