Appeal for Continuation of Humanitarian Aid to Chechnya

To: The Council of Europe
      All International Humanitarian Organizations

The Chechen Republic is currently being torn apart by a cruel and bloody war.  Tens of thousands of innocent civilians have become victims of the fighting.  Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes and fled to refugee camps, where they live in inhuman conditions and are deprived of the most basic rights and freedoms.

Many of Chechnya’s towns and cities lie in ruins, including the capital, Grozny, which before the beginning of the second Chechen War was home to more than half of the population of the republic.  The people who have suffered most are those who do not have the means to escape the fighting.  Those still living within the Chechen Republic are faced daily with life-threatening situations.  Many of these people are able to stay alive only because of the assistance that they receive from international organizations.  This assistance has saved tens of thousands of people from cold and hunger.  Hundreds of brave and caring people from Europe, America and other countries have faced great danger in order to ensure that humanitarian aid gets to the people who need it.

The population of Chechnya is outraged at the kidnapping of Doctors Without Borders worker Kenneth Gluck.  The kidnapping is an insult to all Chechens and the perpetrators of this act are enemies of the Chechen people who so desperately need assistance.

We offer our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of Kenneth Gluck and hope that he will soon be freed.

Only those forces who wish to justify the continuation of genocide against the Chechen people and destruction of Chechen villages have an interest in the kidnapping of representatives of international organizations.

We hope that this tragic event does not lead Doctors Without Borders or other humanitarian organizations to curtail their assistance programs in Chechnya.  The Chechen population is in danger of dying out, and this assistance is vital to its survival.

LAM Center, Grozny/Nazran
15 January, 2001