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Chechnya: Summit Merkel, Chirac and Putin (23.09.2006)

Give priority to the civilians' situation in Chechnya!

Bolzano/Bozen, Göttingen, 22. September 2006

The French President Chirac and the German Chancellor Merkel are going to address the catastrophic human right situation in Chechnya in their discussion with Russian president Vladimir Putin taking place tomorrow in France. In a letter, the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) refers to the frightening situation of the civilian population in Chechnya. Merkel and Chirac are going to urge Putin not to promote the Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrow any longer. His militias are responsible for the majority of heavy violations against human rights. Russian and Chechen ruling powers stated, the situation in Chechnya had stabilized. But the facts stand against it: According to data of the organization Memorial – which, however, can control just about a quarter of the Chechen area – more than 47 persons had been killed during the first months in 2006, most of them were civilians.

Almost each day civilians are kidnapped. One hardly gets any information concerning the circumstances of the kidnapping because the relatives of the missing people try to obtain their release using personal contacts to the militia, the secret service or the military. Since Ramsan Kadyrow’s assumption of office in 2004, the persecution of the presumed Chechen fighters’ relatives has strongly increased. Often relatives are also taken in kinship detention “serving” as hostages. Families that own some fortunes, are prosecuted by members of the local militias and authorities, and relatives are kidnapped in order to extort money. Former members of the militias or the army are also in danger. Being under constant observation they themselves or their relatives are often kidnapped.

The perpetrators almost always remain unpunished. According to data of the Chechen public prosecutor's office, 1,949 criminal procedures were initiated in response to kidnappings between 1999 and 1 April 2006. 1.697 cases were suspended, allegedly because the kidnappers’ identities could not be determined. 200,000 Chechen refugees cannot be provided with medical care. Due to long and dangerous ways to school, many children cannot attend them. Teaching material and school books are missing. On 13 July 2006, the deputy director of the UN world nourishing program in Russia, Korjun Alaverdjan, explained that the food made available for the Chechen refugees suffices only for three months. The WHO needs 22 million US Dollar, in order to supply 250.000 Chechens with food that is urgently needed. Scarcely a third of these means has so far been collected.

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