[JURIST] Russia's Foreign Ministry Thursday assailed a new human rights report [PDF text] critical of Russia issued last week by the US Department of State [official website], claiming that the United States is using human rights as a pretense to interfere with Russia's domestic affairs in violation of the UN Charter. At a press conference [opening statement], Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko said the report, which among other things highlighted new Russian restrictions of NGOs [JURIST news archive], contained exaggerations and interpreted facts arbitrarily. "Russia is opposed to the attempts by certain countries and groups of countries and nongovernmental organizations to impose on the international community their own approaches in the human rights sphere under the pretense of universal standards," he continued. Yakovenko's comments echoed similar responses by Chinese officials [JURIST report] to the same report, addressing criticism directed of their own country's rights record.
Yakovenko said that country reports soon to be issued by the UN Human Rights Council [official website] would present a more accurate picture of human rights violations around the world and in the United States, and he said the EU was also at fault in human rights matters [Itar-Tass report], saying that Russia would raise concerns about rights violations in the Baltic region at an upcoming conference in Berlin. RIA Novosti has more.