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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

Panelists:

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.

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