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Attacks in Ingushetia

Civil society reacts to attacks:
From the Conflict Zone - Bulletin of the Human Rights Center "Memorial" in Nazran (unedited)

On June 28, on the initiative of HRC Memorial, a meeting of representatives of human rights organizations and mass media took place in Nazran. Human rights activists and journalists discussed the impact of the tragic events of June 21 on Chechen-Ingush relations. They acknowledged that the situation is conflict prone, emphasized the importance of careful, balanced coverage of the events in both republics, discussed the possible ways to employ peoples diplomacy and other mechanisms to preempt possible tensions. The participants adopted the following statement:

To representatives of human rights and humanitarian organization, political and public figures, journalists:
A great tragedy happened in Ingushetia at night of June 22. Grief and suffering came to many homes. The Republic, which until recently had remained an isle of relative tranquillity, which had offered shelter to thousands of forced migrants, found itself in the situation of crisis. We reached the point, where the danger of conflict between Chechens and Ingush peoples has become visible; the peoples, who are related not only by kin, but also by history, culture, and languages.

The significance of every publicly pronounced word has increased in this situation. It can incite hostilities. But it can calm people down. It is capable not only of helping the people to realize the unity of our nations in the face of tragedy but also of becoming a catalyst of destructive processes.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends! We appeal to your wisdom. When covering the situation, do not give vent to your emotions. Be careful and balanced in your statements, expressions, publications. Be aware of the responsibility, put on every one of us for maintaining peace and interethnic agreement.

We should be aware that provoking clashes between Chechens and Ingush could have been one of the aims for the organizers and participants of the armed raid on Ingushetia. Not acquiescing with them is our main goal!

Dala gech doila d1abevlacharna! Bart lokhuchu nekat1ekh. Dala atto boila vaina massarna a! (May the soil be soft to all the deceased. May God help all of us to find the way to agreement.)

HRC Memorial
Moscow Helsinki Group
International Helsinki Federation
Russian-Chechen Friendship Society
Chechen Committee for National Salvation
Aslambek Dadaev, Chechen Department of Radio Liberty, journalist
Timur Aliev, Chechen Society, editor

Apart from adopting the statement, the working group developed a plan of public events in Ingushetia and Chechnya, aimed at improving the inter-ethnic relations.

Already on July 2, a delegation from the Chechen Republic visited Ingushetia. Respected religious authorities, scientists, journalists and public figures, as well as the deputy-minister for nationalities, information and external relations, Vasilii Svetlichny, arrived to Ingushetia in order to personally express condolence and support to the Ingushis on behalf of a fraternal people the Chechens.

The work of the delegation started in the office of Memorial, where they met with human rights defenders and press. We have lived for ages as brothers, we cannot allow this terrible tragedy to separate us. We deeply sympathize with the grief, which has now come to Ingushetia. This is our common tragedy, and here we have solidarity, - said Islam Khatsiev, the representative of Muftiyat of Chechnya.

When Imam Shamil with his army wanted to subjugate Ingushis by force, they ousted him, but when Kunta Hadji turned to Ingushis with peace and the word of God, the people accepted him, - reminded Khatuev Magomed-Emin, a religious leader from Argun. We, Chechens and Ingush, when talking to each other do not need translators, we are brotherly peoples and should not forget about this fraternity, said a famous Chechen ethnographer, Khasiev Said-Magomed. This is the responsibility of every one of us, every politician and every citizen of both republics. Let us be reserved in our words and evaluations, said Asya Vazaeva, a journalist from Grozny.

Having recited prayers and suras from Koran, the delegation went to Myftiyat of the Ingush Republic. During the Friday prayer the religious authorities from Chechnya delivered speeches in the central mosques of Ingushetia.

Memorial Nazran reports on the events and their aftermath

The Russian Human Rights organization Memorial operates an office in Nazran, the site of the bloodiest attack of last week's assault on Ingushetia. Memorial Nazran has documented human rights violations in Chechnya and Ingushetia for a long time, and has detailed the events of last week and their aftermath in four short reports. We are making them available unedited and in the order we receive them.

From the Conflict Zone - Fighting in Ingushetia (June 24)

Mass Detainments and Harassment of Chechen Forced Migrants in Ingushetia (June 25)

Zachistkas in IDP camps continue. More Chechen IDPs fleeing Ingushetia (June 26)

Detentions, arrests and more zachistkas (June 26)

From the Conflict Zone - latest update (June 28)

CAN Statement on the events in Ingushetia:

Musa Sadulayev / AP
A grieving man stands by a burnt out car in Nazran, the capital of Ingushetia
In the early hours of June 22, a group of 200 armed fighters staged coordinated attacks on government targets in serveral towns in Ingushetia, the small republic bordering Chechnya. International reports speak of up to 75 dead, but local residents believe that there are many more. While it is not yet clear who was ultimately responsible, there are some indications that the militants involved were largely ethnic Ingush. So are the victims.

Ingushetia formed part of the Chechen-Ingush republic at the end of the Soviet period; the Ingush are closely related to the Chechens in culture and language. In 1991, Ingushetia left this union after Chechnya declared its independence, and tried to keep the chaos and war soon emanating from Chechnya at arms length. Ingushetia became the main destination for internally displaced Chechens during the first and especially the second war, at one time hosting a refugee population twice as large as its own.

Lately, the situation in Ingushetia had deteriorated markedly, with an increase of Russian secret services and armed forces activity in the republic, the kidnapping of an Ingush public prosecutor who had criticized human rights abuses and even isolated military assaults on civilian homes. This was seen as a move by the Russian secret services and military to expand the war beyond Chechnya. Whether the recent attacks are a response to the increased instability and violence or whether there are ulterior motives is hard to tell.

The Chechnya Advocacy Network's members are shocked and saddened over this escalation, especially the loss of life. One of our colleagues lost a cousin, who got caught up in the fighting at his workplace. We would like to express our sincere condolences to her family as well as all those who lost loves ones.

We are also concerned that the attacks and the crackdown that will likely follow are the first steps down a slippery slope of violence and misery. On behalf of all ours members, we call upon the Russian and Ingush authorities to act with restraint and respect for the rights of the civilian population and on those responsible for the attacks to abstain from further acts of senseless bloodshed.


Humanitarian crisis in Chechnya:

Hunger, desperate poverty, people living in bombed-out ruins and squalid camps, landmines causing daily casualties, widespread health problems and a whole generation growing up without adequate schooling...
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