The Prava Cheloveka v Rossii (Human Rights in Russia) website provide additional details on July 13 further confirming that Chechen refugees in Ingushetia are now coming under sharply increased pressure to leave even the small settlements that have remained since the forcible closing of the last large refugee camps (see “Chechnya Weekly,” June 9). Usam Baisaev, head of the Ingush section of Memorial, the Moscow-based human-rights organization, said that some refugees had been transferred to such settlements from the tent camps, but “the recent events in Ingushetia have provided the pretext that was perhaps necessary for the authorities to liquidate the settlements as well.” The authorities are now closing these settlements without even pretending to provide alternate accommodations, he said.
Anna Neistat of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch said that refugees are not literally being forced to leave Ingushetia, but that direct and indirect pressures are growing. According to reports reaching her organization, she said, “owners of land [on which refugees are living] are compelling the refugees to leave, telling them that they themselves are receiving threats from the authorities.” In effect, the refugees are thus left with no alternative but to return to Chechnya. Neistat concluded: “Once again one can say that Russia is violating its obligations to displaced persons under international law.”