Appeal of the Russian human rights organizations


12-14 September 2001

We, the representatives of Russian human rights organizations, consider the terrorist acts committed on September 11 in New York and Washington, to be an unprecedented crime. The civilian population was consciously and deliberately selected as the victim of this monstrous action by its perpetrators. All the world can now see the consequences of the application of "corporate liability" principle in its worst form. We are in solidarity with the people of the United States of America. We mourn the perished victims and feel compassion for all of the injured.

We believe that in the current difficult situation the people and government of the United States will find an adequate response for these terrorists. We believe that they will not yield to blind revenge, to the actions of "collective punishment".

We welcome the intention to join efforts by democratic nations in the fight against terrorism, voiced by the leaders of several states.

However, at the same time we can't help expressing our concern about statements in the mass media by some analysts and political figures in our country as well as abroad. We reject seemingly simple solutions of complex and knotty problems. We reject the notion that there is a "global Islamic plot", being imposed on our society today. We protest against mixing together such different issues as international terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, barbaric governance of Talibs in Afganistan, dictatorial regimes in Iraq and Libya, war in Chechnya, Balkan conflicts, Arab-Israel conflict and so on. We protest against attempts to use Tuesday's tragedy in the United States to incite religious and inter-ethnic animosity, especially to advocate hatred towards Moslem peoples. Such attempts will not make our world more safe.

We, human rights activists in Russia, feel a special concern about the clearly predictable intention to use the new world situation to justify the resolution of the Chechen problem exclusively by force. We still adhere to the opinion that the only way out of the dead-end situation in Chechnya is a peaceful settlement via a process of negotiations. Resolutions of complex problems by force is exactly what leads to the escalation of terrorism.

This terrorist attack was aimed not only against American cities. A war has been declared against the foundations of contemporary civilization: against principles of freedom, democracy and human rights. If peoples and governments of democratic countries will listen to irresponsible claims and retreat from their principles - then we can say, that terrorists have won this war.

Moscow, 12-14 September 2001

Signed by:

Sergey Kovalev, Arseny Roginsky, Alexander Daniel, Elena Zhemkova, Oleg Orlov - on behalf of the Russian Memorial Society;

Elena Bonner, Jury Samodurov - on behalf of the Public Center and Museum in name of A.D.Sakharov;

Lev Ponomarev - on behalf of the Russia-wide movement For Human Rights;

Svetlana Gannushkina - on behalf of the Organization for help to refugees and IDPs Civic Assistance; Larisa Bogoraz

Ludmilla Alexeeva, Victoria Malikova - on behalf of the Moscow Helsinki Group;

Juliy Rybakov, deputy (MP) of the State Duma of the Russian Federation;

Sergey Jushenkov, deputy (MP) of the State Duma of the Russian Federation;

July Goryacheva, Ida Kyklina, Valentina Melnikova - on behalf of the Union of Russian Committees of the Soldier's Mothers;

Mara Polyakova, Sergey Pashin - on behalf of the Independent Expert-Legal Council;

Father Gleb Yakunin - on behalf of the Public Committee for Defense of Freedom of Conscience;

Mikhail Arutjunov - on behalf of the International Assembly;

Alexander Ljuboslavsky - on behalf of the journal "Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms";

The collection of signatures continues.