Russia

Statement by Walter Schwimmer on Chechnya

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STRASBOURG, 08.12.99 - The Secretary General of the 41-member COUNCIL OF EUROPE, Walter Schwimmer, today expressed his extreme concern about the reported ultimatum-style appeal to the inhabitants of Grozny. He also underlined his support for the efforts of the OSCE, notably the forthcoming visit to Chechnya by the OSCE Chairman-in-office on 14-15 December 1999.
"I strongly subscribe to the position of the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Alvaro Gil-Robles, who visited the province of Chechnya and neighbouring regions last week - the war in itself constitutes a human rights violation", Mr Schwimmer told the Council's Committee of Ministers. And he added: "Hostilities should end as soon as possible and a political solution should urgently be sought".

Mr Schwimmer approved the proposal for the establishment of a Human Rights Ombudsman institution in Chechnya and confirmed that the Council of Europe "is at the disposal of the Russian authorities for any assistance regarding the strengthening of democratic institutions and values".

Talks on the Chechnya mission by Alvaro Gil-Robles and on the situation in the region will take place this Friday, when the Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo comes to Strasbourg to meet the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

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