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    MOSCOW URGES REFORM OF UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

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    GENEVA, March 17, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has urged to amend the principles of the governments' and non-governmental organizations' approach to discussing human rights issues at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

    "We believe that the revision of the agenda or other organizational measures alone cannot promptly raise the Commission's efficiency," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov said, addressing the 60th meeting of the Commission on Wednesday.

    He deemed it necessary to study the whole range of issues related to considering resolutions on separate countries by the Commission on Human Rights.

    "It goes without saying that human rights observance in certain countries and regions may be an object of the international community's legitimate concern. However, absolutizing this thesis leads to the emergence of an artificial 'group of delinquents,'" said Mr Fedotov.

    Such an approach cannot help improve the Commission's performance and promote its authority, according to the diplomat.

    Mr Fedotov also touched on special procedures, which are the Commission's business card of a sort.

    "Special rapporteurs, envoys, spokespersons of working groups, unfortunately, continue relying on unchecked, tendentious information when making inquiries with countries," said Mr Fedotov.

    The diplomat believes that this kind of dialogue with national governments undermines confidence in the UN body's procedures.

    The Commission, which was set up in 1946, oversees human rights observance across the world. The current meeting, which is presided over by Mike Smith, Australia's Ambassador to the UN, will last into April 23, 2004.

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