[JURIST] Russia must undertake extensive legal reforms in order to protect human rights, according to a report [text] issued Friday by the UN Human Rights Committee [official website]. The committee found that Russia is failing to protect important human rights in a number of areas. The report emphasized the problems the country is having guaranteeing its citizens rights such as fair trials and freedoms of speech and of the press. The report specifically criticized the activities in Chechnya [JURIST news archive]. Despite not referring to specific cases, the report discussed the unsolved killings of journalists and human rights activists, violence against citizens, and discrimination against homosexuals. The Russian government has not responded to the report.
The UN report comes less than a week after prominent opposition leader and human rights activist in Russia's southern province of Ingushetia [official website, in Russian], Maksharip Aushev, was shot dead [JURIST report] while traveling on a highway in the North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria. In August, Chechen human rights activist Zarema Sadulayeva and her husband Alik Dzhabrailov were found dead [JURIST report]. Sadulayeva's death came less than a month after the death [JURIST report] of activist Natalia Estemirova. Also in July, the body of Russian human rights activist Andrei Kulagin [JURIST report], missing since May, was found in a quarry. In April, Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin expressed concern [JURIST report] that activists in Russia were being attacked with greater frequency.