Day: March 2, 2007

Avoiding Ramzan

Yesterday many Russian and foreign human rights organizations boycotted the human rights conference – arranged by Chechen prime minister Ramzan Kadyrov – that opened in Grozny. Although Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, who is on a three-day visit to Chechnya, did attend the gathering, most of the big-name organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Memorial, stayed away.

“It’s impossible to discuss human rights with Kadyrov. I don’t want to pose with him in front of the cameras, making people think that human rights defenders have given acceptance to Kadyrov,” Lyudmila Alekseyeva, head of Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia’s oldest human rights organization, told the Interfax news agency. (Postimees, my tr.)

Meanwhile, the Chechen parliament looks set today to approve President Putin’s nomination of Kadyrov – currently acting President – as the new Chechen leader. Update: Kadyrov’s appointment as President has now been confirmed .