Russian human rights group has new members

Nov. 12, 2012 at 4:32 PM

MOSCOW, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Officials of an election monitoring group and a hate-crimes monitor are among the new members of a Russian council on human rights, officials say.

The makeup of the presidential council on human rights and civil society was approved Monday by President Vladimir Putin, RIA Novosti reported.

The new members were named following a series of resignations after parliamentary elections in December and the election of Putin to a third term in May.

New members of the council include Liliya Shibanova, Leonid Parfyonov, Irina Khakamada and Alexander Verkhovsky.

Shibanova is head of an independent electoral monitoring group, Golos, which has been the object of sharp criticism by the Kremlin.

Parfyonov is a well-known journalist and Khakamada is a former presidential candidate.

Verkhovsky is head of Sova, an organization that monitors race hate crimes.

The human rights council is an independent body, but its recommendations are often ignored.

Shibanova said she was uncertain if the council would be able to influence Putin, but "it undoubtedly has a certain influence."

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