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Amnesty members take action on Russian ultimatum

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

News Service 231/99 AI INDEX: EUR 46/43/99 8 December 1999

CHECHEN REPUBLIC

Amnesty International members take action on Russian ultimatum

Members of Amnesty International from around the world are taking urgent action on behalf of civilians in Grozny by writing to the Russian government asking for a public and unambiguous pledge to protect civilians.

"The Russian government will not only continue to be subjected to international criticism from world leaders, but will receive thousands of letters from individuals demanding the protection of human rights," Amnesty International stated.

Amnesty International is urging the government to uphold Russia's commitment to international humanitarian law and take all measures to distinguish between civilians and military objectives.

"A leaflet drop can in no way be considered sufficient warning and the sick, old and wounded who are likely to be left in Grozny cannot be considered "terrorists"," Amnesty International said.

"Amnesty International urges members of the public also to write to the Russian government expressing their outrage over the ultimatum and calling for international humanitarian law to be upheld."

ENDS.../ Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom

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