The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial,
summary or arbitrary executions, Asma Jahangir, transmitted on 7 December
an urgent appeal to the Russian authorities expressing her deep concern
over the ultimatum by the Russian Federation authorities to the people
of Grozny to leave the city by 11 December or face intensified attacks.
Noting that Russian airplanes had dropped leaflets in Grozny informing civilians of a humanitarian corridor leading out of the city, the Special Rapporteur said that it was her understanding that earlier attempts to warn civilians in advance of attacks or to establish safe exit routes had not been effective.
Ms. Jahangir urged the Government to deploy every effort to ensure that civilians were made aware of any safe corridors leading out of Grozny, and also to protect and secure these routes in order to allow civilians to leave safely.
'I am, however, concerned that regardless of these measures some civilians, particularly the elderly and infirm, may not be in a position to leave the city within the given time-frame. I urge your Government to ensure that Russian forces take all possible steps to protect the safety and security of civilians and persons hors de combat when conducting their operations in Chechnya, in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law standards', the Special Rapporteur said.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson has reiterated her deep concern regarding the situation in Chechnya and said she joined with members of the international community in calling on the Russian Government to exercise restraint.