Russia Challenged on Racism

Doudou Diene: Photo Humberto Salgado
12 June 07 - At the UN Human Rights Council, the special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diene, has expressed concern over the rise in racial violence in Russia. The Russian delegation responded by condemning the report as “partial” and “inacceptable”.

Mario Togni/Infosud - “There is a strong streak of racism and xenophobia running through Russian society”. Doudou Diene, UN special rapporteur on racism did not mince his words on Monday 11th May at the UN Human Rights Council. Following a visit in June 2006, he noted with great anxiety a “rise in the number of racial incidents and crimes” in Russia committed by Neonazis groups. According to the rapporteur anyone who does not look Slav is affected by the upsurge in violence in a country which has more than 170 ethnic groups and nationalities.

Following the presentation of his report, the Russian delegation responded sharply, calling it “unacceptable”. “A lot of space has been given to the views of NGOs but the information provided by the authorities has not been taken into consideration. The report contains observations that have nothing to do with the facts”, he noted.

However, there are countless examples of racism, which the international press has reported on. In March 2006 a 9 year old girl of mixed parentage was stabbed by two teenagers in Saint Petersburg, in the stairwell of her apartment block. Over the past two years, several African students have been similarly attacked. However, last Autumn the small town of Kondopoga, near to the Finnish border was the scene of a series of “pogroms” against communities from Caucasus. Following an argument, thousands of people went on the rampage for several days, destroying the shops and restaurants belonging to “those with dark skins”.

The reaction of the Russian delegation during the Human Rights Council was “worrying”, according to Doudou Diene. “You can not deny the reality. There are hundreds of racist violent incidents and dozens of killings in a lot of towns and that is even from the official government figures. Faced with these facts, the Russian authorities seem to want the kick the issue into touch by saying that the report is not objective”.

Russia is also disputing the historical analysis in the report. The authorities say there is no link between the question of national identity and racism. “The identity of the Russian people has not changed for thousands of years” notes the delegation. However Doudou Diene sees it differently. “I think that one of the underlying reasons for the rise in racism in many countries is the identity crisis that is happening as a result of the multiculturalism

Translated from French by Claire Doole

See online: Russia vs UN
More articles about same themes ? Use advanced search



Swiss Senator explains opposition to blacklists 22.12

Swiss investigator calls for Kosovo probe 17.12

EU/US must demand Kosovo inquiry 16.12

Lybia failing asylum seekers and migrants 14.12

The debate over the future of the Swiss army 14.12


Lybia failing asylum seekers and migrants 14.12

Israel cause of Palestinian health woes 7.12

Global warming threatens food supplies 6.12

Swiss doctors refuse to force feed hunger striker 17.11

Haiti: anger at UN as cholera deaths mount 16.11


Bangladesh paramilitaries trained by UK 22.12

Rights pressure on Cuba mainly ’lip service’ 19.12

Cuban dissident addresses EU awards committee 16.12

Zimbabwe: call to investigate 2008 election crimes 15.12

China’s post Nobel award crackdown 14.12


Swiss Senator explains opposition to blacklists 22.12

Child marriage akin to violence against women 20.12


Palestinian territories: separate and unequal 22.12

Calls to free Syrian activist 19.12


NewsletterGet our newsletter

Stay Connected Facebooktwitter

Charters  |  About us  |  Editorial teams  |  contact
Palais des Nations, Bureau S-84  |  Avenue de la Paix 8-14  |  CH-1211 Genève 10  |  T: +41 22 917 29 30  
designed by with Spip
sommaire le temps L´Orient-Le Jour Geopolitis swissinfo LE COURRIER rue 89 Slate Afrique ipsnews