Appeal of Human Rights Defenders on Chechen Refugees in Azerbaijan
A group of well-known human rights defenders appealed to Antonio Guterres, the head of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; UNCHR office in Azerbaijan; and Micheal Posner, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of U.S. State Department, on the special situation of a Chechen family and Chechen refugees in Azerbaijan.
The original letter:
To: António Guterres
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor,
U.S. State Department
We, the undersigned, are strongly protesting against your inaction in regard to the terror and persecution of the Chechen refugees in Azerbaijan and their relatives, who remain in Chechnya, conducted by the death squads of Russian and Chechen FSB (KGB successor). We call on your immediate attention to a recent barbaric act that happened in the village of Goyty, at 117 Sovetskaya Str. (now renamed as Hamzat Ganzhaev Str.) in Chechen Republic.
On October 21 in the above address, a Russian special “commandos” from FSB and “OMON” burst into the house, where two women,-Aminat Ibragimova, 80, and her granddaughter-in-law, 17, had been living. They directed an automatic gun at the 17-year-old, and searched the house. Then forced her out to the yard. Keeping the gun at her headback, they demanded from her “information” about her relative, Muslim Ibragimov, who was killed at the second Chechen war in 2002. While she was in the yard under the gun the other commandos set in fire the house where the 80-year-old bedridden (after the stroke) woman remained. The 17-year-old managed to run back into the burning house to stay together with her grandmother-in-law. The burning house drew attention of the neighbors who gathered in attempt to save the women. They broke the frames in the window and pulled out Aminat. Later, in the remnants of the house, two burned bodies of young men were discovered. They were not relatives of the Ibragimovs and not from Goyty; the bodies had bullet holes, so they were shot before the house was set in fire.
The house belonged to Abdul-Gani Ibragimov, Muslim Ibragimov’s father and Aminat Ibragimova’s son. In 2001, during the war, Abdul-Gani with his wife and 3 children escaped from Chechnya to Baku, Azerbaijan, in attempt to save his family. They are registered at UNHCR office in Baku as refugees under ## 2289, 2290, 2291. However, they are neither granted asylum nor resettled to a third country despite the direct threat to their safety. Now, after the incident with their close family in Chechnya the danger to their lives grew substantially, as Russian special forces together with their Kadirov’s “colleagues” have free hand in Azerbaijan.
We urge you:
1. To issue Abdul-Gani Ibragimov an asylum status and resettle him with his family a third country as soon as possible.
2. To acknowledge that the situation in Chechnya remains extremely dangerous for the relatives of Chechen refugees and of those who one or another way were connected with Maskhadov’s Government; and call on The Government of Russian Federation to stop committing that kind of crimes.
3. To take all possible steps for protection of Chechen refugees in Azerbaijan, where they had temporary refuge, against killing, kidnapping and extradition.
With respect –
members of the International Human Rights Group Chechnya and Russia:
Victoria Poupko, Anna Politkovskaya Fund, Boston, USA;
Mayrbek Taramov, the Chechen Human Rights Center, Sweden;
Said Emin Ibragimov, the International Association Peace and Human Rights, Strasbourg, France;
Nadezhda Banchik, Member of the Amnesty International, USA
Elena Maglevannaya, Russian journalist, Finland