Human Rights Commissioner to visit Moscow, Chechnya and Ingushetia

Strasbourg, 06.02.2003 - The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Alvaro Gil-Robles, will visit the Russian Federation from 10 to 16 February. He will begin his trip in Moscow with high-level meetings with the Russian authorities, and with representatives of human rights NGOs.

The Commissioner will then travel to the Chechen Republic. In Grozny he will meet representatives of the Chechen administration, of the Prosecutor's Office and of the military command at Khankala. A meeting is also planned with NGOs present in the region. The next stop will be Ingushetia, where the Commissioner will pay particular attention to the situation of displaced persons living in camps or in the so-called "private" sector.

This new visit by the Human Rights Commissioner will be entirely dedicated to an evaluation of the human rights situation in this crisis-hit region of the Russian Federation. The Commissioner will examine to what extent his previous recommendations have been implemented, particularly that of 30 May 2002 relating to "certain rights that must be guaranteed during the arrest and detention of persons following 'cleansing' operations in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation".

On his return to Moscow, on 14 February, the Human Rights Commissioner will share his preliminary findings with the Russian authorities. He will hold a press conference on Saturday 15 February at 16.00, in the House of Journalists (8a, Nikitsi boulevard, Arbatskaya subway station).

Contacts in the Russian Federation:

Alexandre GUESSEL, Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel: +33 (0)6 72 75 42 64 (only during the visit)

Grégory MATHIEU, Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel. +33 (0)6 32 64 58 75 (Communication Unit of the Commissioner's Office)