Beslan Khagazhey, a lawyer who works with the Peryt Organization, says that the North Caucasus is “the historic homeland of the Circassians and here they must have the status of compatriots and have equal rights. All that the Circassians want is the right to live legally in their own home.”
A second lawyer from Adygeya who spoke on condition of anonymity said that at present “international law on the Circassian question isn’t working.” The rights of the Circassians are being violated, although in a few cases the Circassian applicants have made mistakes that allow under Russian law for expulsion.
But the head of the Kabardin Congress Aslan Beshto said something needs to be done and soon. Circassians have a good reputation in many countries. “In Europe, America, and in the Middle East, they work for the good of their motherlands. They are Circassians only in terms of ethnic self-consciousness. They have no legal status as Circassians as such.”
One consequence of that, he said, is that they are treated as refugees from the countries they had been living and as having the identity of the majority population, that is, as Arabs if from Syria and Turks if from Turkey. Sometimes the reputation of these groups works against the Circassians.
Beshto called for international recognition of the Circassians as an expelled people. That is necessary, he continued, to stop assimilation and to preserve national identity. And not less it would put the world on the side of those Circassians who want to return from the diaspora to the homeland in the North Caucasus from which they were expelled.