Human rights defender who was expelled from Belarus last year included in human rights council under aegis of Russian president

2012 2012-11-22T17:10:44+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

Russian human rights defender Andrey Yurov, who was expelled from Belarus in March 2011, has become a member of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights under the aegis of the President of Russia, BelaPAN said.

Mr. Yurov, head of the Observation Mission of the International Committee for Monitoring the Human Rights Situation in Belarus, is one of the 39 people who were included in the Council by an edict issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 12.

The most recent rotation in the Council`s membership was based on the results of public discussions and online voting, in which more than 100,000 people reportedly took part, the Observation Mission says in a statement.

Mr. Yurov was nominated for inclusion in the Council in the "Human Rights in Post-soviet Region" category.

Mr. Yurov described the invitation for him to join the Council as an indirect gesture of support for CIS human rights defenders in Belarus and the OSCE region in general. "Human rights in neighboring countries have become a timely subject for the current Russian leadership," he said. "There are many indications of this, including the [establishment of the `Human Rights in Post-soviet Region] Category."

The Observation Mission of the International Committee for Monitoring the Human Rights Situation in Belarus was established by human rights groups in different countries on December 27, 2010, in response to a crackdown on government opponents that followed the December 19 presidential election in Belarus.

Andrey Yurov was arrested in Minsk on the night of March 16, 2011, with the policemen telling him that he was on the Belarusian authorities` entry ban list. Mr. Yurov was driven to a police station where he spent the night. The following morning he was given 24 hours to leave the country.

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