UN concerned over reported troop actions at camps housing Chechens in Ingushetia

UN concerned over reported troop actions at camps housing Chechens in Ingushetia

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today voiced concern at reported military actions affecting camps for internally displaced Chechens in Ingushetia, Russian Federation.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today voiced concern at reported military actions affecting camps for internally displaced Chechens in Ingushetia, Russian Federation.

Since late last week, military troops have reportedly established a presence close to four camps in the area housing 17,000 Chechens. The troops are said to be there to prevent any attack from terrorist groups, and soldiers are checking all cars and persons entering or leaving.

Only internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have a registration document proving their official presence in the camps can move freely there, said agency spokesman Ron Redmond. “Since some of the IDPs so far have not received such a registration document from the authorities, we are concerned that this may raise protection concerns for these individuals and would urge that the authorities provide appropriate documentation to the displaced people.”

Mr. Redmond also voiced concern about increasing anxiety among some of the IDPs who view the presence of soldiers so close to the camps as a potential threat or provocation. He noted that at one of the camps, the military tents are near a school where attendance has dropped by 70 per cent.

In all, some 110,000 displaced Chechens are staying in Ingushetia, including approximately 20,000 in tent camps, according to UNHCR.