Referendum on a new Chechen constitution causes contradictory reactions
Dear readers, we are offering you an updated collection of articles connected with the referendum on a new Chechen constitution, which is scheduled by Moscow for 23 March, 2003.
Chechnya: From a pseudoreferendum to pseudoelections
June 6th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Musa Tumsoyev
Now with Russia's Chechnya moving from "referendum" to "elections," the solution of the Russian-Chechen conflict has been put on hold.
Human rights defenders: Despite referendum, the situation in Chechnya remains unchanged
April 23rd 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
The so-called mop-up operations are still continuing and people are still disappearing. “All was peaceful during the first two weeks after the referendum, but then everything started up again,” said Libkhan Bazayeva of Memorial.
Memorial’s poll shows only 12% of Chechens had intended taking part in referendum
March 27th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
Out of 656 respondents, 440 people said they had no intention of voting; and 131 were undecided.
High referendum turnout achieved thanks to "additional voter lists," declare human rights defenders
March 26th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
Human rights defenders claim that the same people kept appearing at different polling stations; all they had to do was produce their identity cards and they were able to vote.
Chechen rights defenders cast doubt on referendum results
March 24th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
Unofficial monitoring by human rights defenders contradicts the official results.
Marketplaces in Ingushetia are “Closed for Cleaning“
March 23rd 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
Ingush authorities are probably afraid of possible terrorist acts in areas where many people gather or the referendum organizers probably want as many people as possible to go to the polls.
Draft of Chechen constitution burned on eve of referendum
March 22nd 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
Some 300 Chechens, whose relatives “disappeared“ during Russian mop-up operations, staged a demonstration today in Grozny against the March 23 referendum.
The Russian referendum in Chechnya
March 21st 2003 Prague Watchdog / Musa Tumsoyev
Organizing a referendum at this time on the constitution and legislation regulating presidential and parliamentary elections can best be described as a “constitutional mop-up” of Chechnya conducted by the Russian leaders.
Protests against referendum underway in Chechnya
March 20th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
Protesters are tearing down pro-referendum posters and billboards and even shooting at buildings where elections will be held.
Ingush police boost security for Chechen referendum
March 18th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Ruslan Isayev
The emergency measures would be in place until March 24, when the referendum is completed.
The human rights situation in the Chechen Republic
March 17th 2003 Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Report by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Rapporteur Rudolf Bindig.
A Chechen Anomaly
March 14th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Imran Ismailov
By promising peace in exchange for approving the constitution, the republic’s leadership have avoided realistic issues that have accumulated over the years: rights violations, rampant unemployment, demolished homes, and embezzlement of funds.
Twenty-four Chechen refugees join hunger strike against referendum
March 12th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Ruslan Isayev
Nearly everyone on the hunger strike lost relatives during special operations carried out by Russian troops.
Shakhmurzayev: "We need peace, not a constitution"
March 12th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Ruslan Isayev
The referendum will not only worsen the political situation and destroy an opportunity for dialogue, but it will also cause radicalism to arise between the opposing sides, Shakhmurzayev claims.
Report on Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner's visit to Chechnya and Ingushetia
March 12th 2003 Office of CoE Commissioner for Human Rights
"More than three years after the Commissioner’s first visit to Chechnya, the problems noted then are as pressing as ever," Robles writes.
Council of Europe shares experience with Chechen Election Commission
March 11th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
"The special legal status of the Commission lies in their being independent from other bodies of state power; its members cannot lobby either for or against the referendum," said Pavel Russkikh.
Badalov: Refugees in Ingushetia coerced to take part in referendum under threat of relief aid withdrawal
March 9th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
“I was told at the issuing point in Nazran that if I refuse to sign this form for the territorial electorial commission, they won‘t give me anymore bread,“ said Ruslan Zhadayev, a refugee.
Chechnya: Political solution or confrontation?
March 8th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Ilya Maksakov
No one opposes a referendum as a political measure, apart from the separatists. The main complaints are a lack of voting conditions and the referendum’s ability to bring peace to Chechnya.
Chechen human rights defenders request President Putin to postpone referendum
March 4th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
“Circumstances do not allow for a referendum to be held now because Russian military actions in Chechnya have not yet ceased,” states the document.
Two human rights activists go on hunger strike in protest against referendum
March 4th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Ruslan Isayev
“I do not understand how one could hold a referendum when civilians are being killed on a daily basis,” says Sulumbek Tashtamirov, chairman of the human rights organization “Sintar”.
A joint assessment mission statement of the OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe
March 3rd 2003 OSCE/ODIHR, Council of Europe
A joint expert mission from Europe's leading election observation bodies, the OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe, today concluded a five-day visit to Moscow and Chechnya to examine preparations for the 23 March referendum in the Republic.
Collection of signatures petitioning Russian President Putin launched in Chechnya
February 17th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Ruslan Isayev
The Chechens who signed the petition are convinced that it is impossible, under current circumstances, to hold a fair referendum on the new Chechen constitution.
PACE & Conflict in the Chechen Republic - Verbatim report of debate
January 30th 2003 Council of Europe
Verbatim report of the debate on Chechnya at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on January 29, 2003.
PACE & Conflict in the Chechen Republic - Adopted texts
January 29th 2003 Council of Europe
Documents adopted during the debate on Chechnya at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on January 29, 2003.
PACE & Conflict in the Chechen Republic
January 28th 2003 Council of Europe
Selected documents related to the debate on Chechnya at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on January 29, 2003.
Lord Judd: Chechens are not yet ready to vote in referendum
January 24th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
Judd said that he was very worried about the fact that no one of the people whom he met read the draft Chechen constitution.
Chechen human rights activists oppose referendum on Chechen constitution
January 20th 2003 Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev
“We understand that by our boycott we cannot stop the referendum - but it will discredit itself,” says chairman of the Anti-war Congress Salambek Maigov.
Embraced by Moscow
November 10th 2002 Prague Watchdog / Josef Mrázek
The process of adoption of the new Chechen constitution can signify a true change only after peace is reached in the country. Without peace it will be no more than a scrap of paper.