Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Chechnya: Manifesto for Peace

Manifesto for Peace in Chechnya

(This Manifesto has been written with the aim of attracting the attention of the World Leaders of the G-8 in view of their meeting in St. Petersburg mid July 2006)

Considering, that Russians and Chechens, during their shared history over the last 2 centuries, have been in an ongoing conflict, which has endangered the mere existence of the Chechen people through wars and deportations,

Considering that since the agreements in Moscow, Nasran and Khasavyourt – followed by the peace agreement of 12 May 1997 - ten years have passed - ten years during which resumed hostilities have caused the death of more than a hundred thousand – according to other source over two hundred thousand - people, forced an even greater number of refugees to leave the republic, brought further destruction of the material basis of
society and made life for the remaining population extremely hard,

Considering, that the ongoing conflict has led to increasingly barbaric violations of human rights - torture, seductions, illegal imprisonments and terrorist acts - and has weakened or destroyed moral values in society; religious traditions have been undermined by the influence of foreign ideologies and youth has lost any perspective for a decent life in future,

Considering, that this conflict has serious effects on the entire region, destabilizes the whole of Northern Caucasus by aggravating ethnic conflicts and by jeopardizing its potential of becoming a prosperous zone where all different ethnic and religious groups could live together in peace,

Considering that the late President Maskhadov who had been elected in the free and fair elections, officially recognized by Moscow, has launched in early 2005 a substantial peace initiative, proposing unconditional talks with Moscow and declaring a one-sided one-month-ceasefire for the month of February 2005 – this initiative
remained without any reaction from the Russian side and Maskhadov was killed on March 8, last year;

Today we declare that urgent action is needed for a peaceful solution of this conflict as the only way out for bringing stability and progress to the whole region. In this perspective we define our goals as follows:
- To guarantee the security in the life of the people of Chechnya, the respect of human rights and of law,
- To establish political power structures, based on free and fair elections,
- To create the conditions for economic and social development for normalizing life and allowing the return of the refugees.

For achieving these goals our means are the following:
- Our people have been fighting for defending independence during all these years through the first and the second war. In view of Russian aggression against our Republic, we always have considered independence as the fundamental means to achieve our goal of peace for the Chechen people and as guarantee for its security. However, if based on international law, any other solution for peace with the Russians can be found, for achieving the above mentioned goals, we are open for according negotiations.
- Through our conflict with the Russians a lot of violence has been brought into our society, the consequences of which constitute a heavy burden for future internal peace. Therefore, all efforts for general conciliation and internal peace in Chechnya have to be brought about.
For this not only amnesty measures are necessary but also means - like truth commissions – , with allow an active participation of the family members of the victims of violence.
- For reconstruction of the Republic foreign assistance has to be mobilized.

We know that there is no solution of the conflict by continued warfare and violence. Therefore, we declare that negotiations with Russia have to start without preconditions. We condemn all forms of violence against the civilian population, including terrorist acts.

Ahmed Zakayev, Foreign minister of the Chechen Republic of Itshkeria
5 July 2006

(via chechnya-sl)
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