Frank Schwabe. Photo: Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle - Eigenes Werk

23 September 2019, 21:54

PACE Rapporteur calls on to revise attitude to refugees from Chechnya

After his one-day visit to Grozny, Frank Schwabe, the Rapporteur of the PACE on human rights in Northern Caucasus, has admitted that the realities demonstrated to him by Chechen authorities contradicted the reports of human rights defenders on human rights violations in the republic, but promised to draw up an objective report for the Council of Europe.

On September 18-20, Mr Schwabe visited Moscow and Grozny to discuss the human rights situation in the region. He arrived in Grozny on the last day of his visit to Russia.

Back from his trip, Frank Schwabe said that he was not ready to draw conclusions only from what he saw during his one-day visit to Chechnya. "I met a number of human rights defenders in Moscow, who are there because they can no longer work in Grozny, including Oyub Titiev. They presented a completely different picture from what they showed me on the spot in Chechnya. They described such phenomena, like secret prisons in Chechnya, murders of women for reasons of honour and cases of violence against members of the LGBT community – on the whole, the accusations that are harder to come up with. My task is to compose a picture of what is happening and present my report to the Council of Europe," the "Deutsche Welle" quotes Mr Schwabe as saying.

According to his story, all his interlocutors in Russia, in conversations with him as an MP of the German Bundestag, touched on the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a veteran of the Second Chechen War, was shot dead in Berlin on August 23, 2019. A 49-year-old Russian citizen was arrested on suspicion of committing the murder. Members of the Chechen Diaspora linked the murder with the activities of Russian special services; the Russian authorities deny this.

"It is extremely worrying that the conflicts around Chechnya and involving Chechens are resolved in the territory of other states; and that the participants in this conflict are not afraid of the consequences," Frank Schwabe has stated.

He believes that officials in Europe "should reassess the situation in Chechnya and better understand the rules by which the society lives there." "In the case of Chechnya, it seems to me that a reassessment of the dangers that people face there is needed; an understanding that the situation there is different from conflicts in other parts of Europe, where unwanted refugees are sent; and, ultimately, this should lead to a decision to provide protection more often than what is happening today," the Rapporteur Schwabe has concluded.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on September 23, 2019 at 04:51 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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