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USIS Washington File

08 December 1999

Text: Joint Statement Expresses Concern Over Civilians in Chechnya

(OSCE, Council of Europe, UNHCHR joint statement)  (320)
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council
of Europe, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
issued a joint statement December 8 regarding the situation of
civilians in Chechnya.
The statement expresses "profound concern" for people in the Chechen
capital, Grozny, who have been given an ultimatum by the Russian
government ordering them to leave the city or risk injury or death as
the result of indiscriminate bombing.
Following is the text of the joint statement:
(begin text)
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe 
High Commissioner on National Minorities 
Press Release
8 December 1999
CONCERN EXPRESSED OVER CIVILIAN SITUATION IN CHECHNYA
THE HAGUE, 8 December 1999 - The following statement regarding the
civilian situation in Chechnya is issued jointly by the OSCE High
Commissioner on National Minorities, Max van der Stoel;
Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Walter Schwimmer, and
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.
We wish to express our profound concern for the situation of civilians
in Grozny who, according to the ultimatum of 6 December 1999 from the
Federal authorities of the Russian Federation, are given no other
choice than to leave the city within five days or risk injury or death
as the result of indiscriminate bombardment.
We wish to emphasise the obligations of the Russian Federation under
international human rights and humanitarian law and we call for the
strict respect of these standards. Whatever its motivation, any police
or security action must conform to fundamental humanitarian
principles.
Everything possible must be done to save and protect innocent lives.
OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Prinsessegracht 22 2514
AP - The Hague The Netherlands tel: +31 70/3125500 E-mail:
cscehcnm@euronet.nl Website: http://www.osce.org
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State)



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