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UNHCR Briefing Notes: Chechnya, Africa

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This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations. Quoted text from this briefing note may be attributed to the UNHCR spokesperson named below
Kris Janowski

1. Chechnya

The situation on the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia continues to be somewhat confusing. The initial restriction of movement of males between 10 and 60 years of age, announced by the Russian military commanders last week, has since been officially lifted but all those crossing in and out of Chechnya are thoroughly checked by Russian special police units. Young males are often body searched. The daily numbers of those leaving Chechnya have remained low since the fighting intensified last week. All escape routes out of Grozny now seem to be cut and only very few people make their way out. The situation of civilians trapped in Grozny and deprived of any humanitarian aid is believed to be worsening by the day, causing more and more concern.

Meanwhile the 23rd UNHCR relief convoy arrived in Ingushetia's capital Nazran this morning, bringing in shoes, warm clothing and beds donated by the Danish Refugee Council.

2. High Commissioner in Africa

The High Commissioner leaves Tanzania for South Africa today. She will meet with South African officials and chair a meeting of UNHCR's Informal Advisory Group which gathers periodically to advise the High Commissioner on refugee issues world-wide. Mrs Ogata will then travel on to Zambia which is grappling with a fresh wave of refugees from Angola's civil war. She will return to Geneva on the 26 January.

This document is intended for public information purposes only. It is not an official UN document.