Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Co-Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
April 17, 2003
HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHECHNYA
FOCUS OF HELSINKI COMMISSION BRIEFING
(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a briefing on the critical human rights and humanitarian situation in war-torn Chechnya, Russian Federation.
The Critical Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Chechnya
Thursday, April 24, 2003
10:30 AM – 12:00 Noon
2200 Rayburn House Office Building
Eliza Moussaeva, Director of the Ingushetia office, Memorial Human Rights Center. Memorial provides legal consultations to Chechen refugees and is involved in cases before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Bela Tsugaeva, Information Manager, World Vision, Nazran, Ingushetia. Ms. Tsugaeva previously worked with internally displaced persons for the International Rescue Committee and the Danish Refugee Council.
Ms. Moussaeva and Ms. Tsugaeva will be accompanied by Maureen Greenwood, Advocacy Director for Europe and Eurasia, Amnesty International, USA.
The U.S. State Department’s 2002 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices notes, “The indiscriminate use of force by government troops in the Chechen conflict has resulted in widespread civilian casualties and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of persons, the majority of whom sought refuge in the neighboring republic of Ingushetiya.” According to the report, “Command and control among military and special police units often appeared to be weak, and a climate of lawlessness, corruption, and impunity flourished.” The report also cites Chechen fighters for “serious human rights abuses.”
This briefing follows yesterday’s defeat, by a vote of 15-21 at the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, of a U.S.–supported resolution expressing “deep concern” about reported human rights violation in Chechnya. In a recent letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Members of the Helsinki Commission had urged U.S. support for a strong resolution on human rights violations in Chechnya.
An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission’s Internet web site at http://www.csce.gov within 24 hours of the briefing.
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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International Humanitarian Law
Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons