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Chechen Refugees Rally In Baku For Legal Status

(RFE/RL) February 28, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Dozens of Chechens who fled the war in their republic held a protest rally today in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

They gathered outside the headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

"Our demand is to be given legal status, because life has become unbearable. If they can't give us anything here in Azerbaijan, then we demand to be moved to third countries. We address these demands to the UNHCR. We came together today to say: 'Let us live,'" Ramzan Mulayev, the chairman of the local Council for Chechen Refugees, told RFE/RL.

William Tall, the UNHCR's representative in Azerbaijan, told RFE/RL that the protest is a result of Chechens' frustration over difficult living conditions.

However, Tall said opportunities to resettle Chechens in European countries are limited. According to the UNHCR, about 2,600 Chechens currently live in Azerbaijan.

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