RUSSIAN RESEARCH CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Information on the Right of Child participation in the European Economic Summit 2001

Information on the “Right of Child” participation in the European Economic Summit 2001, Salzburg
(Appeal distributed at the Summit - attached)

I, as a Head of the "Right of Child" NGO of the Russian Research Center for Human Rights was invited to participate in the World Economic Forum's European Economic Summit 2001 in Salzburg, 1-3 July: "Europe: Building on Diversity". Co-Chairs of the Summit: Percy Barnevik, Chairman, Investor AB, Sweden, and George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management, USA.

The antiglobalist demonstrations against the Summit were not felt by its participants since we were in the safe zone "occupied" by the whole army of the Austrian police. This was a historical event opening new trends in future and giving hope to many so far democratically and economically underdeveloped countries. It is sufficient to tell about participation of presidents of 15 countries; also Russian Prime Minister Michail M. Kasyanov spoke to Summit on July 3. Summit met with unanimous applause Zoran Djindjic, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia who had a courage to send Miloshevich to Hague.

There was a number of NGOs representatives - among many politicians and businessmen. I was the only one NGOs representative from Russia. Of course I tried to use a chance to speak about massacres in Chechnya, about children and poverty etc. On July 3 I even managed to put publicly two not simple questions to Michail Kasiyanov. I said that I speak on behalf of millions of starving children and poor families. My two questions were about suppression by Russian bureaucracy of the socially important small and individual business important for surviving of poor people and poor families and second question was about Russia's # 79 place in the Transparency International List of corrupted countries which creates evident problems for investments; I asked about the ways in which Russian President and Government plan to heal deceases of corruption and poverty. Mr. Kasyanov recognized the existence of problems, and said that now proposed laws on de-bureaucratization of economics in Russia are directed to decrease corruption.

And after the dinner I also managed to approach Michail Kasyanov personally and gave him the page of our proposals which I distributed at the Summit and which are aimed at improving situation in Russia (ATTACHED). I said to Michail Kasyanov that any step in these directions will improve Russia's image in the world. "Russia must improve its image in the world" - that was main conclusion of this Summit about Russia.

Boris Altshuler
Document, distributed among participants of the Summit
(Published in Russia in “Novye Izvestia”, July 13, 2001)

Russia’s difficult way to Europe. Building on diversity
What can be done when nothing can be done?
View of Russia’s human rights activists.

Overwhelming unaccountability of bureaucracy, mass-scale poverty of most  of its population and underdeveloped Civil Society dramatically differ Russia from the countries – members of EU. These three deceases resulted: in the fact that during last 5 years children population of Russia went down more than 4 million; in massacres of  Joint Venture (called «Chechen war») aimed at making Big money from Big blood,  in drastic unpredictability of Russia which makes it dangerous for its own population and for outer world, etc.
There are simple remedies – so far unused – which as we hope may provide prompt relieve from these deceases. Those are:

1) Adoption of legislation on establishing of Parliamentary and Civil Society tools of transparency of the armed and non-armed executive authorities:
- On 22 September 1999 previous State Duma adopted in the first reading Amendment to the Article 103 of the Russian Constitution which permits Russian Parliament to create Commissions on Investigation, in particular – investigation of activities of FSB (like it is done by the US Congress). Since then there was no further move in this direction. And there is only one person in Russia who is capable to promote sufficiently quickly this vitally necessary, however quite difficult, Constitution-amending process – his name is Vladimir Putin. We suppose that Russia must bring the control capabilities of its Parliament to the world standards, and this must be discussed at G-8.
- The draft laws «On Civil Control of observation of human rights in places of detainment» (elaborated and promoted by the Moscow Helsinki Group member and former MP Valery Borschev and supported also by MP from Chechnya Aslambek Aslakhanov), «On Civil Control in the Military Sphere»,  «On Public Control in Cildren’s Institutions» are long-waiting in State Duma. They must be adopted as soon as possible.
The general approach may be the signing of  the «World Transparency Charter» (or perhaps it may be called Transparency Code of Conduct of G-8 countries).
2) Adoption of the legislation on tax release of socially important small, smallest, individual and family business. At present there are 800 000 small businessmen in Russia whereas in Poland there are 5 million of them, in the USA – 28 million. In Russia small business is literally killed by bureaucracy. The drafts of salutary laws were recently proposed to State Duma Committees by MP Ivan Grachev, Chairman of the all-Russian Movement «Development of Business». Unfortunately the laws on de-bureaucratization  of economics (which may be only greeted!) proposed now by the Government to State Duma do not take into account social factor at all. – According to these laws the tax responsibility of Gazprom and of single mother trying to survive with her family business is one and the same.
The general approach may be the elaboration of the International strategy to combat poverty with developing of the socially important small and smallest business.
3) Adoption of the tax legislation stimulating charity aimed at supporting of the Civil Society building, and legislation on so called Social Order (social partnership) which will direct certain State and Regional budgets’ money to support nongovernmental organizations.

On the Day of Independence of Russia, June 12, 2001, President Putin spoke about necessity of developing of Civil Society and on necessity of Civil Society supervision of different State authorities. It would be very helpful if he will be asked at the G-8 to make these words deeds.


01.07.2001

Boris Altshuler, member Moscow Helsinki Group,                                                 
Head of the «Right of Child» NGO, Russian Center for Human Rights.
11, Novyi Arbat, room 19-18, Moscow 121019, Russia
Ph.: (7-095) 291-5872;    Ph./fax: (7-095) 291-9176
right-child@mtu-net.ru
http://pravorebenka.narod.ru/eng/index.htm

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