Chechen rights activists preparing for UN alternative report about the situation in Chechnya

INGUSHETIA, October 20, Prague Watchdog – Members of Chechen human rights organizations are going to submit their own report on the economic, social and culture situation in their republic which they will present in the November session of the United Nations. This is the result of a seminar on UN methods for the protection of human rights and economic, social and cultural rights that was held in Ingushetia on October 18 and 19 by the World Organization Against Torture.

According to one of the organizers, Zaynab Gashayeva, chairwoman of “Ekho Vojny,” this report will be an alternative to the official one that Russia will present. “When reading the document that the Russians presented at the UN’s September session, one almost got the impression that we were living in Switzerland,” she said. ”Our job is to brief the UN about the real situation in Chechnya,” Gashayeva added.

Nearly fifty members of the Chechen human rights organizations are contributing to this report, which includes a questionnaire on all the violations of economic, social and culture rights in Chechnya. Torture of Chechen citizens is dealt with separately.

Nathalie Mivelaz, program manager of the World Organization Against Torture, told her Chechen colleagues that human rights violations by Russian soldiers in Chechnya are generally known when the culprits are found guilty. She added, however, that unlike Russia, Chechen rights activists are powerless in providing further evidence to prove these incidents to the international establishment. She also stressed that it is necessary for her colleagues to join forces as only through mutual cooperation would they benefit.

The World Organization Against Torture will assist these activists to hand over their report to Theo van Boven, Special Rapporteur on Torture of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

As the Children’s Program Officer Severine Jacomy pointed out, the UN Commission already has a great deal of data at its disposal, but it is far more useful when local human rights agencies add their own information to it.

Timur Aliyev, Prague Watchdog, Ingushetia

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