UN refugee agency concerned about sudden closure of two camps in Chechnya
According to UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski, 2,200 displaced people living in tent camps in the area of Znamenskoe have been moved to temporary centres in the Chechen capital Grozny.
UNHCR had not been notified of the closure of the camps and the agency's staff found one of the camps dismantled while on an assessment mission to Znamenskoe in early July.
"We are particularly concerned about the voluntariness of the return to Grozny, as we have learned that the displaced people were not fully informed that they had an option to remain, nor were they fully informed about where they were being moved to," Mr. Janowski told a press briefing in Geneva.
He said that a high-level UN mission was in Grozny today to discuss the matter. Mr. Janowski added that the UN Humanitarian Coordinator had written, on behalf of UN agencies in the region, to the authorities in Moscow to questions about the two camps.
"We continue to stress that returns of displaced Chechens should be voluntary and we are working with the government to resolve the concern," added the spokesman.