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Russia urged to protect its women

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MOSCOW, Dec 15, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Every hour a woman dies in Russia at the hands of a relative, a partner or a former partner, Amnesty International has said in a new report.

The human rights watchdog called on Russian authorities Wednesday to take more effective steps to prevent domestic violence against women, The Moscow Times reported Thursday.

The Interior Ministry's latest figures say that 9,000 women were killed by a partner or relative in 2003, mostly after a relationship ended.

Friederike Behr, an Amnesty International campaigner, said the full scale of the problem was not clear because authorities did not maintain full statistics on domestic violence. In addition, she said, authorities are doing very little to tackle the problem.

"A woman we spoke to said she called the police, but she was told that they would only go to her house if there was a dead body," Behr said. Another woman called the police 16 times in one night, but they did not come.

Even when the police do intervene, the man is usually released after a few hours, Behr said. Given such experiences, "women believe that violence is something normal that they have to live with," she said.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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