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Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
May 6, 2002


In Advance of Bush-Putin Summit, Human Rights Abuses Persist

(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission will conduct a hearing on the latest developments in the conflict in Chechnya as President George W. Bush prepares for his first summit meeting in Russia later this month.

Developments in the Chechen Conflict
Thursday, May 9, 2002
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
340 Cannon House Office Building
Witnesses: Steven Pifer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs,U.S. Department of State
Aset Chadaeva, nurse and former resident of Chechnya
Andrei Babitsky, Radio Liberty correspondent, author of Nezhelatelny Svidetel (Undesirable Witness)
Anatol Lieven, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Embassy of the Russian Federation has been invited to provide testimony at the hearing.

Since renewal of the Chechen war in late 1999, the conflict has been characterized by brutality and violations of human rights on both sides, especially on the part of the Russian military with its greater firepower. Hundreds of Chechens, especially males of military age, have been killed or have disappeared as a result of Russian military “sweeps.” An estimated 150,0000 – 200,000 civilians have been forced to relocate to neighboring refugee camps.

Moscow contends that the war in Chechnya is an integral part of the war against international terrorism, and the U.S. Government has confirmed links between some insurgents in Chechnya and “various terrorist organizations and mujahidin.” The U.S. Government has called upon Chechnya’s leadership to “immediately and unconditionally cut all contacts with international terrorist groups,” while calling for “accountability for [human rights] violations on all sides” and a political solution to the conflict.

An un-official transcript will be available on the Internet at 24 hours after the hearing.

The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

Media Contact: Ben Anderson
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Russian Federation


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