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US reacts to reports of mass grave in Chechnya

US reacts to reports of mass grave in Chechnya

Thu, 8 Mar 2001 21:45:14 -0500

Text: U.S. Statement on Chechnya to OSCE Permanent Council March

Charge d'Affaires Rosenblatt urges commitment to protect human rights


The United States is "deeply concerned" about reports of a mass grave recently uncovered near Russia's Khankala military base in Chechnya and has called on the Russian government to undertake "a prompt, full, and transparent investigation to determine responsibility for this incident," U.S. Charge d'Affaires Josiah B. Rosenblatt told the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) March 8 in Vienna.

Following is the text of his statement:

(begin text)

United States Mission to the OSCE Vienna March 8, 2001

STATEMENT ON CHECHNYA

Delivered by Charge d'Affaires Josiah B. Rosenblatt to the Permanent Council

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Like the European Union, the United States is deeply concerned about reports of a mass grave recently uncovered near the Russian military base at Khankala. We similarly call upon the Russian Government to undertake a prompt, full, and transparent investigation to determine responsibility for this incident.

Discovery of this grave and ongoing reports of other human rights violations will continue to draw the international community's attention to the conduct of the war in Chechnya.

The international community has repeatedly urged that Russia take credible actions to protect human rights in Chechnya, in keeping with its international commitments and obligations. While some steps have been taken in the past year, there has been no significant improvement in the protections offered the civilian population, and no true accountability.

We urge Russia to demonstrate its commitment to protect human rights in Chechnya. We believe that the OSCE, through the Assistance Group, can be helpful in this regard, and remind the Government of Russia that return of the Assistance Group to Chechnya is one such action that should be taken.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, we also urge Russia to implement the provisions of last year's resolution on Chechnya at the UN Human Rights Commission.

Thank you.

ENDS

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