Chechen refugees ordered to return home
Chechen refugees living in two camps in neighbouring Ingushetia have been told that the camps will be closed and they must return home, an activist said.
Immigration officers and officials from the Chechen capital, Grozny, gave the warning when they visited the camps yesterday, said Ruslan Badalov, from the Chechen Committee for National Salvation. At least 8,000 people live in the two camps, which will be closed by 20 December.
The warning appeared to be part of a campaign by Russia to return refugees from eight years of war in Chechnya to the region, which is still plagued by violence. The campaign has been criticised by aid organisations and human rights groups. Last week, the US ambassador to Russia said he feared refugees were being coerced into returning when it was unsafe to do so.
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