International Community Criticized For Chechnya Response

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 4

Rachel Denber of the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch has written an updated, comprehensive overview of the international response to the second Chechen war. It is entitled “Glad to be Deceived”: The International Community and Chechnya. Denber notes several failures by foreign states and by inter-state bodies: For example, “no government or multilateral institution was willing to consider linking financial benefits to improvements on the ground in Chechnya….The World Bank, which arguably had the most leverage and a mandate to withhold aid on human rights grounds, released U.S. $450 million in structural adjustment loan payments to Russia during the first year of the war, which went directly to the Russian government for unrestricted general budgetary spending.”

“In dealing with Chechnya today,” writes Denber, “governments and multilateral institutions for the most part stress the need for a political solution to the conflict, rather than pressing for an immediate end to human rights abuses….Many argue that the abuses will end only when the conflict ends. The international community should not be reproached for seeking an end the conflict in Chechnya, but emphasizing this goal over all others overlooks the fact that it is the continuing cycle of abuses that fuel the conflict.”

The full text of Denber’s report is available through the Human Rights Watch website at: