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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 February 2006, 06:56 GMT
Arbour to press Russia on rights
By Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Geneva

Louise Arbour
Mrs Arbour hopes to make progress on human rights issues with Moscow
United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour is beginning a week-long visit to Russia.

She will travel to Chechnya, where human rights groups say abuses - by both the Russian army and the groups fighting it - are widespread.

She will also hold talks with President Vladimir Putin and meet local non-governmental organisations.

Moscow is known to be reluctant to discuss its actions in Chechnya, saying it is fighting terror groups.

During her visit, Ms Arbour wants to build on the progress made during her first visit last year, when she secured the Russian government's agreement to set up a regional UN human rights office in Moscow.

Violations

But significantly, half of the week-long trip will be spent in the northern Caucasus.

Besides Chechnya, Ms Arbour will also spend time in Ingushetia, visiting camps for people displaced by the conflict.

Human rights groups claim Moscow has been forcibly repatriating people in order to close down the camps.

After her time in the Caucasus, Mrs Arbour will hold talks with President Putin.

Despite Moscow's reluctance to discuss alleged human rights violations, Ms Arbour is expected to bring up the issue with the Russian president.


SEE ALSO:
Russians win human rights prize
12 Jan 05 |  Europe
Timeline: Chechnya
12 Feb 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Russia
12 Feb 06 |  Country profiles


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