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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 00:18 GMT 01:18 UK
Soviet-style abuses 'reappearing'
By Bethany Bell
BBC News, Vienna

Russian soldiers
Russia's military has been tarnished by a series of scandals
An international human rights group says Soviet-style human rights violations have reappeared in a number of former Soviet Republics.

The International Helsinki Federation for Human rights (IHF) also criticised established Western democracies for challenging the prohibition of torture.

The report said many human rights groups were under severe pressure in Central Asia, Belarus and Russia.

The IHF is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

It was founded in 1982, at a time when it says the Soviet authorities were engaged in massive and systematic human rights violations, and focuses on countries in Europe, Central Asia and North America.

'Poor example'

In its latest report, the IHF says although important progress has been made in many countries since 1982, similar violations are still taking place.

It said the human rights situation in Russia was deteriorating as the government clamped down on its political opponents.

And it said that gross abuses of human rights were continuing in Chechnya.

Western democracies which challenge the prohibition of torture in the name of fighting terrorism were also targeted in the report.

The IHF said the policies of the US with respect to torture were of particular concern because of the example they set for other countries.

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