U.S., Russia to urge UN for Syria peace talks in mid-November
Following their arrests, each of the five men filed for asylum in Russia, claiming a fear of being persecuted on grounds of their ethnicity in Kyrgyzstan, but Russias Federal Migration Service (FMS) rejected the mens applications. In recent months, each man has appealed the denial of refugee status in Russias courts. In addition, Tojibaev applied for temporary protection but was refused. He has also appealed that decision. Russian authorities should ensure that each asylum seeker has the right to fully appeal a denial of refugee status by the migration service, Human Rights Watch said. In addition, even if an applicant has exhausted those appeals, authorities should grant the person the opportunity to apply for temporary protection on human rights or humanitarian grounds. Any extradition, deportation, or other removal from Russia should be suspended pending the outcome of those appeals. The Russian Prosecutor Generals Office, between July and September 2013, approved all five extradition requests from the Kyrgyz Prosecutor Generals Office although the men had not fully exhausted their right to appeal their asylum claims, and despite the real risk of torture each faces in Kyrgyzstan. Earlier in 2013, Russias Prosecutor Generals office approved the extradition to Kyrgyzstan of three other ethnic Uzbeks, in violation of international human rights law. Their lawyers filed complaints with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which issued an order to stay the mens extradition until their appeals could be fully reviewed by the court. The men have been released from custody and remain in Russia pending the European Courts decision on their case. Reliable reports by Kyrgyz nongovernmental organizations, United Nations bodies, and Human Rights Watch indicate that torture is a longstanding problem in Kyrgyzstan. In February 2012, following his visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2011, the UN special rapporteur on torture concluded that the use of torture and ill-treatment to coerce confessions remains widespread and that impunity for torture remains the norm. He also cited poor prison conditions in Kyrgyzstan, noting, The general conditions in most places of detention visited amount to inhuman and degrading treatment. The judges in these extradition cases should respect Russias binding legal obligations not to return anyone to a country where he faces a serious risk of torture, Rittmann said.
Russia again cites tainted meat imports from Poland
Kerry also said that the start of the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria was a “good beginning” and, in unusual praise for Damascus, said Syria’s government should be given credit for complying with a recent U.N. resolution to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal. “I am not going to vouch today for what happens months down the road but it is a good beginning and we should welcome a good beginning,” he added. Kerry and Lavrov met at a resort on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Bali, Indonesia, where they signed an agreement on nuclear risk reduction centers in Washington and Moscow, first created in 1987 to facilitate verification of arms control treaties and agreements. Kerry and Lavrov met first with aides and then privately where they discussed ways to end Syria’s civil war and upcoming talks with Iran on ending a dispute over its nuclear weapons program. Kerry characterized his meeting with Lavrov as “one of the most productive we have had”, saying they spoke at length about ways to bring warring parties in Syria together for talks in Geneva, known as Geneva 2. “We agreed again there is no military solution here and we share an interest in not having radical extremists on either side assuming a greater position in Syria, and that is why we re-committed today very specific efforts to move the Geneva process as rapidly as possible,” Kerry said. He said both sides would seek to “lay the groundwork for a round of talks.” “It is our mutual hope that that can happen in November and we are both intent and determined in consultations with our friends in these efforts to try to make certain this can happen in November,” Kerry said, adding: “A final date and terms of participation will have to be determined by the United Nations.” A team of international experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague and personnel from the United Nations began destroying Syria’s chemical gas arsenal on Sunday. It follows an agreement hammered out between Washington and Moscow after a deadly Aug 21 chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, which prompted U.S. threats of air strikes against the Syrian government. The elimination of the chemical weapons is expected to continue until at least mid-2014.
Rosselkhoznadzor said laboratory testing of the products revealed the presence of pathogenic bacteria in them, specifically mesophilic microorganisms in the poultry meat and E. coli in the pork products. The warnings came a week after Rosselkhoznadzor lodged similar objections to chilled pork from the Polish meat producer Biernacki and finished pork products from the Sokolow S.A. plant in Czyzew, Poland, the news agency said. The latest tests came with a warning from the Russian regulators to their Polish counterparts, citing the “inadmissibility of such violations” and cautioning that Russia has introduced “a new regime of intensified laboratory controls on the products of these companies.” Rosselkhoznadzor in recent months has reported concerns about the quality of Polish meat, cheese, fruits and vegetables. It also uncovered illegally transported Spanish bacon, hidden in the marrow of Polish pork, and pulled 12 tons of Polish cheese because of counterfeit labels. Russia has not ruled out imposing an embargo on imports of Polish meat and milk production, but Polish officials insisted last month there is no trade war brewing with Russia. Polish Deputy Minister of Agriculture Tadeusz Nalewajk last month discounted the possibility of a “meat war,” saying the problems over the banned meat and cheese had been resolved and Poland had committed itself to additional phytosanitary controls, Polish Radio reported. Peter Zieman, head of the Polish Association of Butchers and Meat, told the broadcaster Russians are extremely sensitive about their meat supplies because Polish imports represent competition for Russian producers. “We are the leader on a global scale, the global leader in exporting,” he said. Polish Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba told the broadcaster each case of tainted food must be thoroughly investigated. If there is a suspicion of collusion and falsification of documents, all the relevant authorities must be involved, including the Internal Security Agency. He asserted that in all but a few “marginal cases,” Polish food is of very good quality, and its export is an important branch of the country’s economy. Poland’s agri-food sector employs about 400,000 people and last year was valued at $23.7 billion, representing 12.3 percent of the country’s overall foreign sales, The Financial Times reported. Its beef export market has been valued at $1.2 billion per year, and has been growing steadily since Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004.