#18 - JRL 2009-230 - JRL Home
Chechnya Ombudsman: Rights Groups Pay Too Much Attention to Chechnya

GROZNY, Chechnya. Dec 16 (Interfax) - Chechnya's human rights ombudsman censured human rights groups for neglecting alleged violations of the rights of natives of Chechnya in Russia and other countries and accused them of paying too much attention to the rights situation within Chechnya.

"Numerous international and Russian human rights organizations are monitoring, literally under the microscope, violations of human rights on the territory of the Chechen Republic, neglecting glaring violations of the rights of people from the republic outside it, both in other Russian regions and abroad," Chechen Human Rights Commissioner Nurdi Nukhazhiyev said in a statement.

The statement, whose addressees were the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Russian Foreign Ministry and rights groups Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Memorial, came in response to a crisis on Tuesday in which Caucasus refugees were taken off a train in Poland and stopped from proceeding to Strasbourg, where they planned to join a demonstration of Caucasus refugees living in various European countries.

The alleged reason for the refugees being taken off the train in the town of Zgorzelec on the Polish-German border was they had no valid documents to cross the Polish-German border.

Unconfirmed reports said the refugees had planned to publicly complain during their stay in Strasbourg about the situation in Chechnya.

Nukhazhiyev said the incident should lead to the urgent abolition of the so-called Dublin agreement on asylum seeking. He claimed the agreement runs against key principles of international human rights accords.

He also said the EU should take action against transnational crime rings that illegally move refugees to EU countries.

The Russian Consulate in Poznan, Poland, said most of the refugees come from Chechnya and are in Poznan currently and seeking asylum.

The Russian Embassy in Warsaw told Interfax there are 150 refugees, 18 of them Georgian citizens.

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