Open Letter to 56th Session of UN Commission on HR re. Russia

From: MINELRES moderator <>
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 08:48:44 +0200 (EET)
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Subject: Open Letter to 56th Session of UN Commission on HR re. Russia

From: MINELRES moderator <>

Original sender: Maria Kolb <>

Open Letter to 56th Session of UN Commission on HR re. Russia

Open Letter to the 56th Session of the Commission on Human Rights of
the United Nations
Moscow, 7 April 2000
Esteemed Delegates,
I am writing on behalf of the International Helsinki Federation for
Human Rights (IHF), of which I am President, and as Chief of the
Moscow Helsinki Group, of which I was a founding member in 1976. Dr.
Yuri Orlov, who founded the Moscow Group, shares the views expressed
We are asking that the Human Rights Commission adopt a Resolution on
the matter of Russia's conduct of the war in Chechnya, and that this
resolution include the Commission's demand for an International
Commission of Inquiry into violations of international humanitarian
law that have occurred.
When we founded the Moscow Group almost 25 years ago we affirmed that
ensuring compliance with international human rights norms was a
process that requires international cooperation, and that human rights
violations are not "internal" problems of states.
Russia, like all countries, needs the help of the international
community, and civil society in Russia needs the international
community - and especially the United Nations - to stand by its
responsibility to ensure justice for our fellow citizens whose rights
have been egregiously violated by our government.
Russia needs your help.  It is quite clear that internal Russian
investigative and judicial processes will  be neither independent nor
strong enough to do the job.  There is no will among official
structures to address the painful problem of accountability for war
crimes.  Russia needs the authority of the United Nations to give
credence to an investigation that can bring true accountability into
the process.
Without accountability based on a UN investigation, we can expect
continuing terrorism from Chechen people seeking revenge - terrorism
that threatens to further destabilize the region.
Civil society in Russia is awaiting your decision.  With your
courageous support of an International Commission of Inquiry, we will
have a basis for our work to bring Russia firmly into the family of
democratic countries in which remedies exist for individuals whose
rights have been violated.
Thank you for your consideration.

Ludmilla Alexeyeva
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
Wickenburggasse 14/7
A-1080 Vienna, Austria

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