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Russia: U.N. Chechnya Vote Assailed

Human Rights Watch today expressed disappointment at the failure of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to adopt a resolution on Chechnya.

The 15 to 16 vote, with 22 abstentions, followed new evidence from Human Rights Watch and others about Russia's failure to end abuses by its military forces in Chechnya and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Introduced by the European Union, the resolution would have condemned Russia's ongoing abuses in Chechnya and pressed the Russian government to establish a national commission of inquiry to investigate them, as well as to cooperate with the U.N. rights monitors.

"Today's vote is a serious setback for human rights," said Elizabeth Andersen, Executive Director of the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch. "It sends a message that a country like Russia can intimidate the international community into silence."

The Commission's failure to act on Chechnya comes after two consecutive years of refusal by the Russian government to cooperate with past Commission resolutions on the Chechnya conflict. In view of Russia's non-compliance and the continued pattern of serious violations by its security forces against civilians in Chechnya, Human Rights Watch had underscored to Commission members the importance of maintaining pressure on Russia with a new resolution this year.

Listed below are the states that voted for and against the measure.

The states that voted for are: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

The states that voted against are: Armenia, Burundi, China, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Venezuela, Viet Nam

The states that abstained are: Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Croatia, Ecuador, Japan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia.

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