International Helsinki Federation concerned about attacks in Ingushetia

Interfax, 22 June 2004

MOSCOW. June 22 (Interfax)—The International Helsinki Federation of Human Rights and the Moscow Helsinki Group have issued a joint statement concerning the armed attacks in Nazran and other towns in Ingushetia.

The two organizations “are deeply concerned about the armed attacks on government buildings in Nazran and other towns in Ingushetia, which have resulted in large numbers of civilian casualties,” reads the statement circulated in Moscow on Tuesday.

At the same time, the two organizations expressed concern that the reaction of the Russian forces to this attack will be disproportionate and in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law.

“These attacks represent a serious escalation of the ongoing armed conflict in Chechnya. Like a tumor, the conflict has been spreading to the neighboring regions,” Tatyana Lokshina, programs director of the Moscow Helsinki Group was quoted as saying.

The statement also quotes Aaron Rhodes, executive director of the International Helsinki Federation of Human Rights, as saying that “the Russian authorities' response to these attacks in Ingushetia must not descend to the levels of brutality witnessed in Chechnya.”

“The IHF is further concerned that the attacks by Chechen fighters in Ingushetia may fuel a conflict between the ethnic Ingush and Chechen population,” the statement reads.