Russian Commissioner on Human Rights Visits IRLA International Office

L to R: Andrey Lebedev, Oleg Mironov, John Graz, Denton Lotz

Silver Spring, Maryland. At the invitation of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) Russian Chapter, Oleg Mironov, Commissioner on Human Rights for the Russian Federation visited the IRLA international office on November 9, 2001. Addressing the IRLA delegation, Mironov shared an extensive report of the work of the Commission since his appointment on May 22, 1998. The Federal Constitutional Law that was adopted by the State Duma in 1996, and approved by the Federation Council in 1997, was the first step in Russia's effort toward improving the quality of life for its citizens.

Citing many examples whereby the Commission had successfully intervened on behalf of its citizens, Mironov also stated that there are other challenges that the Russian Federation has to solve, such as its economy. Since his appointment in 1998, three Annual Reports and five Special Reports have been released by the Commission, which has offended higher structures of government. Mironov emphasized, however, that the reports are to identify problems to be solved and not to damage the reputation of any governmental department or individuals.

In his comments to IRLA officers, Commissioner Mironov pledged his continued commitment to reeducate and raise awareness toward human rights and religious freedom violations in his country. "In accordance with the law, the Commission has to act on its own initiative to protect the rights of those people and groups of people who cannot defend themselves," he pledged.

Accompanying Mironov were Robert Simonyan, Associate Head of Human Rights and State Counselor of the Russian Federation; Andrey Lebedev, Consultant of Mr. Moronov and State Counselor of the Russian Federation; and Victor Krushenitsky of the IRLA Russian Chapter. The IRLA delegation included John Graz, secretary-general and Denton Lotz, president of the International Religious Liberty Association. [Viola R Hughes]