Chechnya suffering crimes against humanity: HRW
NEW YORK: Disappearance of civilians in war-torn Chechnya - carried out with the full knowledge and implicit consent of Russian authorities - have reached the scale of a “crime against humanity,” a leading rights group said Monday, urging the United Nations to take action.
“The pattern of enforced disappearances in Chechnya has reached the level of a crime against humanity (and) a dire human rights crisis,” said a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) released on Monday.
“Thousands of people have ‘disappeared’ in Chechnya since (the beginning of the current war between separatist and pro-Moscow forces in) 1999, with the full knowlege of the Russian authorities,” said a press release accompanying the report. The organisation called on the UN Human Rights Commission to “adopt a resolution condemning enforced disappearances in Chechnya, urging the Russian government to immediately adopt measures to stop the practice.”
HRW called a decision by the European Union not to include Chechnya on the agenda of this year’s meeting of the commission “unconscionable” and urged that it be reversed. “It is astounding that the European Union has decided to take no action on Chechnya at the Commission,” the HRW statement said.
“To look the other way while crimes against humanity are being committed is unconscionable.”
Since the beginning of the second Russo-Chechen war in a decade, between 3,000 and 5,000 people have disappeared without a trace in Chechnya, after being taken away by either Russian soldiers or pro-Moscow Chechen forces.“Russia has the inglorious distinction of being a world leader in enforced disappearances,” the report said. afp