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Human rights issues should not be used for political pressure - Lavrov

RIA Novosti

14:28 28/02/2011 GENEVA, February 28 (RIA Novosti) - We can not allow the politicization of human rights issues or its use as a tool for political pressure, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

"Attempts to divide states into good and bad, into students and examiners and to dissolve the interstate nature of the Council are counterproductive and can only damage multilateral cooperation," Lavrov said at the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Lavrov noted that the Council has demonstrated its viability and showed its ability to make effective decisions. However, the minister believes that the Human Rights Council should not elude difficult topics.

Lavrov added that the task to ensure the rights of national minorities needs particular attention "especially in the context of such shameful phenomenon as the chronic problem of statelessness in Latvia and Estonia."

There are currently 350,000 non-citizens living in Latvia, which is 15.5% of the country's population. In Estonia the figure consists 9% of the population, or 105,000 people.

Lavrov will address a plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday. He will outline Russia's approaches to the key problems of disarmament, nonproliferation and arms control.

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