Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Circassians Must Seek Return to the Homeland under International Law and Supervision, Bashqawi Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 29 – The Circassians, who continue to identify as such regardless of where they live, must seek recognition both internationally and by Russia that they have been victims of a genocide and the right to return to their homeland under international law and international supervision, Adel Bashqawi says.

            The Amman author of two fundamental works on Circassians, Circassia: Born to Be Free (2017) and The Circassian Miracle (2019), made these and other proposals at the first internatinal online “Circassian Circle” that brought together virtually Circassian scholars and activists from the homeland and around the world (

            This is the third in a series of Windows about this event. The first two are available at

            “The majority of Circassians were driven from their motherland as a result of a war unleashed against them by tsarist Russia. This led to occupation, destruction, genocide and forced deportation,” the results of which remain to this day and have not been fully addressed, Bashqawi says.

            At the same time, he argues, “Circassian self-identification never was separated from the Circassian people” and that provides the basis both for expanding ties between Circassians in the homeland and Circassians in the diaspora and seeking the support of countries around the world under the terms of international law.

            Because that is the case, Circassians must stress the following as they work to develop a common agenda and strategy: the uniqueness of the Circassian nation, the violation of its rights, the importance of its language and culture, and support internationally for recognition of the Circassian nation as a victim of genocide and support for a road map to its recovery.

            To that end, Bashqawi argues, the Circassians must support the creation of independent Circassian media and organize a pan-Circassian national movement to overcome divisions on the most important issues and form a united front in dealing with others on the basis of the underlying principles of international law.

            All of that must be directed at achieving the survival and flourishing of the Circassian nation, something that can be achieved if Russia acknowledges its role in the genocide and acts according to international law to overcome its consequences, Bashqawi says, including allowing the return of Circassians to the homeland.

            That can only happen under international supervision, he suggests; and consequently, using the available basic documents of international human rights law, Circassians must insist on international supervision of this process to ensure that their rights are not only respected but restored. 

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