Moscow, March 10, 2001
“On the necessity of the end of violence in the Chechen Republic and the consolidation of all democratic forces into a process of peaceful political regulation of the crisis”
Despite the frequent assurances from the Russian military that the combat phase of the Chechen operation is over, the war in the Chechen Republic continues. And today, just as at the beginning of the war, the people who suffer most are the peaceful citizens of the Republic.
Artillery attacks on peaceful villages continue, landmines take dozens of human lives every day, Russian forces regularly engage in so-called “purges” as a result of which hundreds of innocent people disappear without a trace, and the Chechen people are subjected to kidnapping, extortion, and, in essence, intentional physical destruction.
In the name of fighting collaborationism, members of extremist military organizations punish Chechens fighting for the opposite side secretly and without trial. This is not only contrary to international human rights norms, it is abhorrent to traditional Chechen morality and ethics and could be the push that leads to a civil war.
Cities and villages lie in ruins, social and economic activity in the Republic is paralyzed, and human rights are being violated not only in Chechnya, but all over the Russian Federation.
Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes and live in inhuman conditions
in refugee camps in Ingushetia and northern Chechnya, and survive only
on the donations of international humanitarian organizations.
This situation is not only harmful to the physical and psychological health of Chechens, it threatens the very existence of the Chechen nation.
Rebuilding the social and economic infrastructure of the Chechen Republic and the awakening of the Chechen nation are impossible without a lasting and stable peace in Chechnya, without civic unity and cooperation of all political forces that support a democratic Chechen state ruled by a constitution and laws. This in turn is not possible without a political solution to the “Chechen” problem.
In response to this difficult situation, members of the Chechen Community Conference suggest that:
1. The Putin and Maskhadov administrations, without conditions, begin the process of negotiating a civilized, political compromise to end the conflict.
2. All problems in the relations between Chechnya and Russia be solved exclusively through political means by negotiation and compromise.
3. The government consider conducting a referendum of the citizens of Chechnya (as soon as the necessary conditions are achieved) as a basis for a non-violent and democratic solution to the problem of the status of the Chechen Republic All citizens of the Chechen Republic should take part in this referendum, including those who have fled since 1991.
4. The government should recognize the necessity of allowing international organizations, particularly the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to participate in the process of bringing peace to Chechnya as observers and guarantors.
5. The government should recognize the necessity of bringing international peacekeeping forces to Chechnya.