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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Lavrov Slams West Over 'Double Standards'

Publication: Polygraph
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Lavrov Slams Western Criticism of Russian Police Crack-down on Anti-Corruption Demonstrators

Headline: Lavrov Slams Western Criticism of Russian Police Crack-down on Anti-Corruption Demonstrators

Name: Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia

Source: http://tass.com/politics/937715

Statement on left: “I proceed from […] the criteria, stipulated by the international pact on civil and political rights - envisaging freedom of speech and the right for gatherings as well as exceptions when it concerns the state security and the moral well-being of society.”

March 27, 2017

Verdict: (background colour=light blue)

Misleading

Shortened "VERDICT": Lavrov has selectively quoted the UN covenant which contains the phrase “in a democratic society” for a reason – to prevent police states from unjustly invoking limitations on rights.

Polygraph factcheck:

In countering Western criticism of Russia's massive detentions of peaceful demonstrators [http://www.rferl.org/a/navalny-anticorruption-rallies-start-far-east-siberia/28391418.html], Lavrov cited Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx] adopted by the Soviet Union in 1976, which in turn was taken from Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/], which states in part, "everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order."

When the UDHR was drafted from 1946-1948 [http://research.un.org/en/undhr], Andrei Vyshinsky, head of the Soviet delegation and Joseph Stalin's prosecutor, argued that human rights could not be conceived outside the state, i.e. were not inherent in the individual [http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/projects/mmt/udhr/udhr_general/drafting_history_10.html] The Communist states, led by the Soviet Union, abstained from approval of the UDHR, enabling it to pass [http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0618.html#article ]

The concept of "public order" is cited with the French term "ordre public" to convey the notion that such order maintained by police also involves respect for human rights and the implication that courts function . [https://books.google.com/books?id=kowFdvofCckC&pg=PA196&lpg=PA196&dq=ordre+public+in+UN+human+rights&source=bl&ots=wmeU2Y4FjN&sig=qHytOIYOeJAvDhK3idSkqDlwJBY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi3noDz8fvSAhUr1oMKHbUGCa04ChDoAQgZMAA#v =onepage&q=ordre%20public%20in%20UN%20human%20rights&f=false] The UN Commission on Human Rights in 1984 adopted the Siracusa Principles [http://www.refworld.org/docid/4672bc122.html] which establish that public order includes respects for human rights by police subject to parliament, courts and other independent bodies in the exercise of their power [[http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/instree/siracusaprinciples.html]

Lavrov also quoted the law selectively, as he leaves out the clause "in a democratic society" in Article 29 which was drafted precisely to deter authoritarian states from invoking the limitations on human rights required for law and order to undermine basic rights.

Lavrov also claimed that the West had a double standard; recently demonstrations by Turkish immigrants were banned in some towns in Germany and the Netherlands [http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/erdogan-compares-germany-rally-ban-nazi-practices-170305140546937.html]. The comparison is not apt, as the protests in the European countries involved a ban on entry to these countries by Turkish officials who were attempting to rally the Turkish diaspora on behalf of President Erdogan in advance of a referendum to expand his powers, and the likelihood of mass protest against Erdogan. In Berlin, a peaceful rally of 30,000 Kurdish supporters demonstrated against the referendum on March 18 [http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-referendum-germany-kurds-idUSKBN16P0HQ].

By contrast, the non-violent protests in Russia were not as large in any one city, did not involve foreigners, were not tied to any referendum and were focused on the more general issue of government corruption.

Lavrov also cited police use of batons and tear gas in European capitals against demonstrators, failing to distinguish between some European protesters who used violence or blocked roads, and Russian demonstrators who marched peacefully on March 26. Finally, he invoked the arrest of RT journalists in the US, failing to note the context was one when US police arrested hundreds of demonstrators after some protesters smashed the windows of stores and lit a limousine on fire, and that nevertheless American press freedom groups condemned the reporters' detentions [https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/business/media/journalists-arrested-trump-inauguration.html?_r=0]

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