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Chechnya: Council Of Europe To Vote On Russian Suspension

Strasbourg, 6 April 2000 (RFE/RL) - The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg is scheduled today to vote on whether to suspend Russia from the council for its alleged human rights violations in Chechnya. The head of Russia's delegation to the council said yesterday that a new Iron Curtain will descend on Europe if Russia is suspended. Also yesterday, UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson urged Russia to conduct a national independent inquiry into alleged abuses in Chechnya. She made the comment in a report she gave to the UN Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva.

Robinson said that during her recent tour of the Caucasus she interviewed more than 40 victims and witnesses of serious, documented human rights abuses.

Robinson said Russia should be prepared to face international scrutiny, but that the main responsibility for addressing human rights violations rests with Russian authorities.