Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 16

On May 28, the new head of the European directorate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Raymond Hall, reaffirmed that the UN is “upholding the principle of voluntary return” of Chechen internally displaced persons currently living in Ingushetia. “Asked if law enforcement actions against Chechen refugees could be part of a move to force them to return to Chechnya, Hall said new Ingush President Murat Zyazikov had assured him that Chechens would return to Chechnya only on a voluntary basis.” Hall also stressed that he is opposed to any expansion of the ongoing “antiterrorist operation” into Ingushetia. He, further, expressed concern over the fate of ten young Chechen men who recently disappeared in Ingushetia after they had been arrested and detained. “This is a new development since the beginning of the year,” he said. The latest plans are for the United Nations to spend about US$25 million on humanitarian aid to Chechnya (Moscow Times, May 29).