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UN COMMISSION REJECTS EU CRITICISM OF RUSSIAN VIOLATIONS IN CHECHNYA. The UN Commission for Human Rights failed on 15 April by a vote of 12 in favor and 23 against, with 18 abstentions, to endorse a resolution drafted by the EU calling on the Russian leadership to take more resolute action to halt reprisals by Russian forces in Chechnya against the civilian population, Russian media and "The Independent" reported on 15 and 16 April, respectively. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lauded the outcome of the vote, saying that it "proves once again that the world community supports the decisive measures taken by Russia to restore law and order in Chechnya and to fight terrorism," ITAR-TASS reported. In Grozny, pro-Moscow Chechen leader Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov said the vote testifies to the UN commission's objectivity. In a statement carried on 16 April by, Akhmed Zakaev, who is Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov's special representative, branded those countries that voted against the resolution (including Ukraine, China, Syria, Libya, India, and Cuba) as "direct co-participants in the monstrous genocide...unleashed by Putin's bloody regime against the Chechen people." LF

BROADCAST COUNCIL MOVES TO BOLSTER UKRAINIAN LANGUAGE. Ukraine's National Council for Television and Radio (NRPTR), a body responsible for issuing broadcast licenses, adopted a resolution on 15 April whereby all broadcasters in the country are obliged to increase the hours of their broadcasting in the Ukrainian language so as to meet the requirements specified in their licenses, Interfax reported. Moreover, the resolution stipulates that all new licenses issued by the council after 18 April will require that nationwide and regional broadcasters use only Ukrainian in their programs. The broadcasters that currently operate under licenses requiring less than 100 percent Ukrainian-language programs reportedly will not have to apply for new licenses. "Ukraine is becoming a unique state in Europe, a state losing its indigenous language, which is being pushed out by official languages of other states," NRPTR deputy head Vitaliy Shevchenko commented on the 15 April resolution to RFE/RL. The NRPTR is to immediately launch a month-long monitoring of Ukrainian broadcasters to examine how they react to the resolution. "If the council detects that its resolution is being ignored by some companies, they will be subject to sanctions," NRPTR spokesman Mykola Hrystsenko told journalists without elaborating. JM