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Chechnya: New Report Shows Abuses Spreading to Neighbouring Ingushetia

The report, ‘Russian Federation: Chechen Republic - 'Normalization' in whose eyes?’, examining human rights abuses against civilians in Chechnya, tracks the spread of abuses into Ingushetia, where thousands of displaced people have fled conflict and human rights abuse in Chechnya.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Abuses which previously occurred almost exclusively in Chechnya are increasingly spreading across the border to neighbouring Ingushetia. A wave of ‘disappearances’ has spread throughout Ingushetia in recent months.”

Amnesty International has learnt that at least 34 people have been ‘disappeared’ in Ingushetia between September 2003 and end of March 2004. A number of these have been people outspoken over human rights violations in Ingushetia.

Additionally, the last tent camp in Ingushetia housing people who had fled the Chechen conflict was closed on 10 June. This camp, Satsita, was the fifth large tent camp to close in eight months. Earlier ones - like Sputnik camp - had also been forcibly closed with typical threats to displaced persons being “If you haven’t left in 15 minutes we set your tent on fire.”

Meanwhile the report shows that in Chechnya human rights abuses continue unabated and with very few people held accountable.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“Russian federal and security forces are carrying out human rights violations such as extrajudicial executions, ‘disappearances’, arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and torture, including rape, with impunity.

“Meanwhile, Chechen armed opposition groups have targeted civilian members of the Moscow-backed Chechen administration and it has been alleged that they are responsible for a number of bombings, which have caused indiscriminate harm to civilians.”

The report also examines the ‘Chechenization’ of human rights violations in Chechnya, with growing abuses by armed Chechen pro-Moscow group Kadyrovtsy, under the command of late president Akhmad Kadyrov’s son, Ramzan - now Chechnya’s First Deputy Prime Minister. These pro-Moscow special security force soldiers are now more feared than federal Russian troops.

Amnesty International’s report shows that civilians in Chechnya are being held in incommunicado detention in undisclosed locations after being detained by Russian federal and security forces. No information regarding their whereabouts and well-being is being given to families. Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have increasingly been targeted - a number of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights have described to Amnesty International how they were tortured, including with electric shocks, and raped in detention. Peaceful demonstrators have been beaten and arbitrarily detained.

Amongst its recommendations in the report, Amnesty International is calling on the Russian authorities to stop forcibly returning internally displaced people in Ingushetia, to grant unrestricted access to Chechnya to independent media and human rights monitors, and to ensure the proper investigation and punishment of acts of ‘disappearance’, torture and killings of civilians.

The report is also calling on other governments - especially Council of Europe states including the UK - to increase pressure on the Russian authorities. This would include support for an independent international expert inquiry into ‘disappearances’ in the north Caucuses.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“It is imperative that the human rights crisis in the north Caucasus is placed higher on the international agenda.”

Read the report ...

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