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Paquet, Philippe

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La Libre Belgique - Belgium | 19/05/2006

Is Russia the beacon of human rights in Europe?

Philippe Paquet, explaining why he finds it so "singular" that Russia should be president of the Council of Europe, offers a list of worrying issues. "The government's appropriation of the media is another disturbing subject, along with the determination to tighten control over non-governmental organisations. Nor does the vital support that the Kremlin has given to the dictatorial regime in Belarus improve its image, Lukashenko's Belarus being the only European state not to be part of the Council, though it is a candidate. As if to better underscore the paradox raised by Russia's presidency, the Council's commission against racism published last Tuesday a scathing report on the tactics of the Russian police and its Cossack auxiliaries. The frequent attacks against foreign students were already enough to remind us that racism is deeply embedded in Russia, along with an intolerance of minorities, be they homosexuals or ... rappers."

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