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'Permanent State of Terror' in Chechnya, Charges Helsinki Federation

The International Helsinki Federation wants the United Nations to investigate human-rights violations in Chechnya, which it says has become a “lawless zone.” A five-member mission of the International Helsinki Federation (IHF) has just returned from Chechnya as part of its continuing program of monitoring human rights there. The team says the people in Chechnya are living in what it describes as “a permanent state of terror.” The IHF team reports incidents of torture, illegal detention, persecution of human rights observers and the arbitrary shelling of populated areas. According to the International Helsinki Federation, there are a growing number of enforced disappearances targeted at women. It says it has received reports of raids on homes in isolated areas where people have been taken away in cars and never seen again. The families of those abducted say all appeals to the authorities for information or help are useless. International Helsinki Federation Director Aaron Rhodes said the group wants an end to Russian army abuses in Chechnya, which would help isolate terrorist elements. And says he wants U.N. involvement to put an end to human rights abuses in Chechnya. Full Story

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