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Russian domestic violence law 'problematic': Swedish foreign minister

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Russian domestic violence law 'problematic': Swedish foreign minister
Margot Wallström in Moscow. Photo: Maria Davidsson/TT
08:41 CET+01:00
Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallström has called a recent Russian legal change which decriminalized some forms of domestic violence "problematic", after meeting with human rights organizations in Moscow.

Wallström was in the Russian capital on Tuesday for a meeting with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in an attempt to thaw frosty relations between the two countries.

She also met with human rights organizations in the city during the afternoon, and one of the questions which came up was a recent legal amendment in Russia which decriminalizes some forms of domestic violence, including making “moderate” violence within families an administrative rather than criminal offence.

"This is deeply problematic because there are a large number of victims each year," Wallström told Swedish news agency TT after the meeting.

The foreign minister said she also wants to share Sweden's experience of working to stop violence against women.

"There's a long way to go and it's awful listening to some of the organizations, who have a lot to tell about a long, uphill struggle," she noted.

Organizations Wallström met with include Center Anna, which campaigns against domestic violence and runs crisis centres in various locations in Russia. Other participants included Amnesty International and human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina from the Civic Assistance Committee.

"Every civilized country has laws that prevent violence against women, and we want to have that kind of law in Russia. It's very important for us that neighbouring countries like Sweden ask questions about it," Marina Pisklakova-Parker from Center Anna told Aftonbladet.

Many of the organizations the Swedish foreign minister spoke with are branded as "foreign agents" in Russia, hindering them from acting in the country because they receive financial support from abroad. 

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