February 12, 2005
Dear Mrs. Louise Arbour,
On behalf of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), in reference to Your current visit to the Russian Federation, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, I take this opportunity to bring the following to Your attention.
The Government of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria , led by President Aslan Mashkadov, Member of UNPO, announced on 2 February 2005 a unilateral ceasefire of all armed Chechen forces. President Mashkadov declared that until 22 February 2005, the day prior to the 60th anniversary of Stalin’s deportation of the Chechen people to Central Asia, Chechen troops will not attack Russian positions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Mashkadov Government has announced that the ceasefire "is intended to demonstrate to the Russian side and the international community the will of the Chechen leadership to resolve the Russian-Chechen conflict by peaceful means."
Human Rights organizations worldwide have welcomed this initiative as yet another offer by President Mashkadov to end violence and renew dialogue toward a political resolution of the decade-long conflict. To most Chechens, President Maskhadov remains a legitimate authority and is Chechnya's only democratically elected leader.
Considering the critical opportunity embodied in President Mashkadov’s initiative, UNPO urges the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
To acknowledge the importance of this ceasefire;
To recognize the efforts of the Chechen party towards a settlement of the ongoing conflict;
To entreat the Russian authorities to use the ceasefire offer as an opportunity to begin dialogue on a negotiated resolution of the conflict;
To bring forward the recent Chechen initiative to the attention of all the UN bodies mandated to work on matters of security and conflict resolution.
UNPO would be grateful if the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will give due consideration to the requests contained in this letter.