In its resolution 1738 (2010) on Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North Caucasus region, the Parliamentary Assembly “notes with relief the end of such acts of war as the bombing and shelling of inhabited areas (…); it commends the impressive efforts made by the authorities of the Russian Federation and of the Chechen Republic to rebuild towns (…) and to restore and improve the country’s infrastructure; this has indubitably improved the living conditions of inhabitants after so many years of severe hardship.”
This indeed deserves to be commended.
However, the Assembly has also regularly expressed concern over the unresolved situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Council of Europe member States underlining, like in its recommendation 1877 (2009) on Europe’s forgotten people, that the majority of displaced persons continue to live in destitution, struggle to enjoy their rights and are marginalised by disregard or failure to protect their human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights.
More than 15 years after they first fled their homes, at least 55,000 people are still internally displaced in the North Caucasus in 2010 and an unknown number of people are still displaced elsewhere in the country.
Over 800,000 people in Chechnya had been displaced by successive separatist wars that broke out in 1994 and 1999, while up to 64,000 ethnic Ingush people had been displaced during the 1992 conflict.
While measures have been taken to promote return of IDPs to Chechnya, inadequate housing, residence registration, access to social service, to housing compensation and to documents continue to be an issue for most IDPs and returnees in the region. The Assembly should study carefully the situation of IDPs and returnees in the North Caucasus region.