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Workshop on Human Rights and Freedoms and National Minorities’ Protection in Russia

May 2011  |  Russia
Within the framework of the BRIDGE project - “Fostering mutual understanding and cooperation of EU with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Russia (2008 – 2012)” - the country workshop on human rights and freedoms, national minorities’ protection, was held on 24-25 May 2011, Saratov, Russia.
The workshop was organized and hosted by the Stolypin Volga Region Academy of Public Administration (Saratov, Russia) in collaboration with the Institute for Ethnic and Regional Studies - ISCOMET (Maribor, Slovenia), which serves as project coordinator of BRIDGE.

The workshop was attended by experts from 11 constituent entities of the Russian Federation, including: the city of Moscow, the Republic of Tatarstan, the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Stavropol Krai, the Republic of Udmurtia, the Republic of Mordovia, the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, the oblasts of Moscow, Orenburg and Samara. Well known scholars, politicians, representatives of the office of commissioner for Human Rights, leaders of national and cultural communities and experts for religious and ethnic problems took part in the workshop. Also 10 members of the Network of Ethnic Monitoring and Early Warning of Conflict (EAWARN) were present during the workshop and made their contributions. Overall about 70 participants attended the event.

The attendees discussed the issues connected with the protection of the constitutional rights and freedoms of ethnic and religious minorities in Russia and abroad. The program of the seminar ( English, Russian) included six sessions: “State national policy: regional dimension”; “International standards in the area of human rights and freedoms protection”; Freedom of conscience and the rights of religious minorities in the Russian Federation”, “Human rights in Russia and abroad: concept and reality”; “The status of non-titular ethnic population and minorities in the constituent territories of the Russian Federation”; “Protection of national minorities’ right in the Russian Federation”. The Resolution of the workshop was discussed and adopted in Russian and English languages by the participants at the concluding session. After intensive discussions and debates about the current situation in the field of human and minority rights in the Russian Federation, the participants emphasized essential progress that has been achieved during last decade in both fields. They outlined that Russian legislation in these areas should be developed and in accordance with internationally recognized legal standards.
Among the recommendations laid down in the Resolution ( English, Russian) there were: 1) to support the efforts of the President of the Russian Federation, the government and legislative organs in the further harmonization of the legislation and normative legal acts of the Russian Federation in accordance with international instruments guaranteeing the legitimate rights and freedoms of ethnic and religious minorities; 2) to initiate discussions for the adaptation of the Federal law project which would regulate the ethnic and cultural policies of the Russian Federation among academic society, public organizations and media; 3) to involve members of the Russian scientific community into carrying out the monitoring process regarding the realization of international conventions and acts of minorities’ protection in the Russian Federation and provide for active involvement of the academia as well as non-governmental organizations into the preparation of reports in the field of human rights and freedoms of ethnic and religious minorities in Russia.
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