Russia

Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner visits Chechnya

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Alvaro Gil-Robles met with Kadyrov in Grozny on 12 February to discuss preparations for the planned 23 March referendum on a new Chechen draft constitution and election laws, Russian news agencies reported. Kadyrov rejected Gil-Robles's argument that "sometimes it is necessary to extend a hand to the adversary to join forces in attempts to achieve peace and understanding," saying that Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov is not an "adversary" but "an enemy...who must either surrender or be eliminated," Interfax reported. During talks the previous day in Moscow with Russian commissioner for human rights in Chechnya Abdul-Khakim Sultygov, Gil-Robles acknowledged the importance of the referendum and other political moves that, he said, would help to protect the rights of the civilian population, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 February. LF
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