Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why the statement on the parliamentary elections in Chechnya, which they issued during their presidency of the European Union on 29 November, did not take account of the report published on 23 November by the International Helsinki Federation of Human Rights, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society and other similar
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bodies, or of the report by Andreas Gross, the Council of Europe Rapporteur on Chechnya. [HL2872]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The UK Government welcome the joint publication of the report In a Climate of Fear on 23 November by a number of non-governmental organisations. However, while we agree that conditions for the elections were far from ideal, it is a positive development that in such an unstable region the elections passed peacefully and with the participation and election of representatives from a range of parties. The EU presidency statement reflects that view. We continue to believe that an open and inclusive political process will be the best way to bring stability to Chechnya and hope that all sides will take the opportunity of these elections to push for greater democratic accountability.