Russia

Chechnya: Kremlin admits deficiencies in its migration policy in Ingushetia - Human rights defender

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Timur Aliyev, North Caucasus -- The Russian leadership's concerns over the abuses in relation to refugees in Ingushetia actually indicate that its current migration policy may no longer be tenable and this was confirmed by a visit to Ingushetia of a delegation of the Russian presidential human rights commission headed by Ella Pamfilova on February 6-7, said Usam Baysayev of human rights center Memorial.

The delegation, which comprised two other members of the commission, Svetlana Gannushkina and Maksim Leskov, visited three tent camps near the village of Ordzhonikindzevskaya and a temporary accommodation center (TAC) for refugees in Karabulak. The delegation also held a meeting with Ingush President Murat Zyazikov.

"In the Bella camp, Pamfilova talked to three families who had gone to Chechnya and came back," said Baysayev. "These people decided to return to Ingushetia due to the overpopulation of the TAC in which they were placed, the lack of heat there and, most importantly, no safety guarantees."

According to Baysayev, Pamfilova came to Ingushetia mainly to review the information of human rights organizations about the removal of refugees from migration lists. "This might explain the delegation's somewhat secretive arrival," he suggested.

Migration officers provided Pamfilova with a new explanation as to why the refugees were not on the lists. According to Baysayev, the deputy director of the Ingush Migration Service Akhmed Parchiyev said that the Ingush migration officials crossed out the names of those who were on the lists of the Chechen Migration Service. "Despite their previous statements that these people were not re-registered," Baysayev added.

According to Memorial, the precise number of all "removed" persons dwelling in camps is unknown because it is constantly changing. In some camps, however, their share reaches some 70 per cent. For instance, in the Altiyevo camp, 925 names out of 1,200 are no longer on the lists of the migration service.

"Pamfilova also met the representatives of the Ingush refugees from the Prigorodny district," said Baysayev. Chairman of the Committee of Formerly Deported Peoples Alikhan Akhilgov told the delegation that the agreement on the return of the refugees signed by the Presidents of Ossetia and Ingushetia has actually not been implemented.

"Although we considered this unplanned visit as the Ingush authorities' attempt to draw the commission's attention away from the issue of Chechen refugees, Akhilgov also noted that he did not understand the approach of the Ingush migration authorities," said Baysayev. "He wondered why the Ingush refugees from Ossetia wishing to return home are not allowed to do so while the Chechen refugees not wanting to go to Chechnya are forced to return?," Baysayev said.

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