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Ashot Airapetians Speech at the Office of Moscow Police Working in the Metro


On the 1st of August the director of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, Ashot Airapetian, and the Swiss volunteer, Ana Tegeltija, were invited to the Office of the Moscow Police Working in the Metro to talk about the work of the Center in front of 40 mid-level officers. Ashot Airapetian was speaking about the problems that had appeared in the last years in Russia because of discrimination based on race and national origin. Often this discrimination happens unfortunately from the side of police officers, especially from the police officers working in the Metro. He also told about the experiences that the Center for Interethnic Cooperation learned from its partners in Great Britain and the United States. There, officers have to undergo special training in the area of interethnic tolerance to be able to accomplish and execute their work. Ashot proposed for them to carry out special training with leaders of national minorities to defeat stereotypes and to increase cooperation between the minorities and the police. Such training has already been done successfully in other regions of Russia, for example in the Krasnodar region. Unfortunately in the region of Moscow the authorities seem to be more reluctant.

The Swiss volunteer was explaining the situation of the Swiss police, where a policeman earns a decent salary and is considered as a friend, not somebody to be afraid of. The Russian police officers dont have a good reputation in society, certainly because of the high number of violations of human rights and bribes that they usually take to augment their salaries.

Unfortunately after the speech of Ashot and Ana, excepting one young lady, the other officers did not interact with questions or thoughts -- possibly because they were used to manners of strict relationship between speakers and audiences.

Nevertheless they seemed to have understood that the situation with the police in Russia must change.

[01.08.2005]

1993-2003
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