Skip to main content

Russia: Last tented camp for Chechens in Ingushetia slated for closure, UN says

Russia: Last tented camp for Chechens in Ingushetia slated for closure, UN says

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today reported that the Russian Federation plans to close the last remaining tented camp for displaced Chechens living in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia.

The agency was initially concerned about the abrupt announcement, which came on Tuesday, but was reassured by Russian officials that water, electricity and gas services would remain available until all internally displaced persons (IDPs) have left the camp, UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told the press in Geneva.

Hundreds of people have returned to Chechnya in recent days, while dozens of others have moved to different locations within Ingushetia. Nearly 550 are still registered at the camp, according to the latest estimates.

Mr. Redmond said that most IDPs are opting to return to Chechnya, apparently motivated by a range of government incentives like cash grants and food rations, but above all by promises of compensation for lost property and destroyed houses.

“Protection staff continue to systematically interview returnees, all of whom claim to be aware of the availability of alternative shelter in Ingushetia,” he said. “Many have commented that they do not want to move somewhere temporarily, and a few have said they consider the current security situation in Ingushetia to be similar to that in Chechnya.”

Some 54,000 Chechen IDPs were estimated to be living in Ingushetia as of the end of May.