Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for December 21st, 2009

Kadyrov Accused Poland Of Violating Rights Of Chechen Refugees

Posted by Info on 21/12/2009

Chechen president Kadyrov, who has been linked to human rights abuses in Chechnya, said he has “regularly heard that Chechen refugees in Poland are living in miserable conditions” and a group of Chechens must have been desperate for trying to take a protest about Polish conditions to Strasbourg before being stopped at Poland’s border earlier in the week.“We do not force anybody to return … but if these people come back, their rights will be much better protected,” said Kadyrov who has regularly been accused of grave human rights violations, including kidnapping and murder — charges that he denies.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski reacted Friday by questioning Kadyrov’s logic: “If there was democracy in Chechnya, I suppose that there would not be as many Chechen refugees as there are, including in Poland.”

The protest began when asylum seekers boarded a train on Tuesday and said they wanted to protest at the Strasbourg, France-based European Court of Human Rights about their treatment in Poland and the slow process of getting political asylum. But the group of about 170 people, comprised of natives of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Georgia, got no further than the German border because they lacked tickets and proper documentation.

One of the organizers, 30-year-old Ingush refugee Zhanetta Baisurkayeva, said the protest was motivated by a wave of violence against asylum seekers from the Caucasus since the fall. Until last year Chechens had the best chance to obtain refugee status in the EU by applying in Poland. “Now the chances have fallen to 50 percent.”

Poland has been a prime destination for refugees from Russia since the country was fully integrated into the Schengen zone in 2007. But numbers have fallen recently, and about 5,200 Russian citizens have applied for asylum so far this year.

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