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Chechnya: Council Of Europe Probes Human Rights

Moscow, 15 January 2001 (RFE/RL) -- A delegation from the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly, or PACE, is traveling to Chechnya today to probe Russia's human rights record in the breakaway republic. The delegation-- led by Lord Frank Judd-- is due to meet with Vladimir Kalamanov, Russia's special human rights envoy to Chechnya. Yesterday, Kalamanov said the delegation will get a "complete picture" of conditions on the ground in Chechnya. During its stay in Chechnya, the PACE delegation is expected to visit the Chernokozovo detention camp.

Alleged atrocities against Chechen refugees by Russian forces there prompted the PACE to suspend Russia's voting rights last April. The PACE team is preparing a report on human rights in Chechnya, which will be presented to the assembly later this month (22-26 January) when it reconsiders reinstating Russia's voting rights.

The delegation is on a four-day visit. Yesterday it visited the northern Caucasus town, Mineralniye Vody.