1. The European Human Rights Commissioner is due to visit Chechnya;
2. Russian forces are tightening grip around the village of Shatoi (southern Chechnya);
3. The Deputy Chief Commander of the Russian forces in Chechnya admitted that the rebel resistance will continue even after the Russia’s success in the southern Chechnya;
1. The European Human Rights Commissioner, Alvaro Gil-Robles, is due to visit and Chechnya's capital, Grozny, where there have been allegations of atrocities carried out by Russian forces. He has been promised freedom of movement inside Chechnya. The Commissioner hopes to visit the notorious Chernokozovo outside the city, where Chechen refugees say they were tortured during interrogation to check they weren't fighters in disguise. His visit comes amid strong Western pressure on Russia to allow independent investigators into Chechnya to probe allegations of human rights abuses. Mr Gil-Robles said Russia had agreed to co-operate with an international investigation - setting up a joint office in Chechnya, where Chechens could go to report atrocities, and investigations be co-ordinated. The Russia’s Special Human Rights Envoy to Chechnya, Vladimir Kalamov, is accompanying Gil-Robles on his trip. Another Russian human rights commissioner, Oleg Mironov, who was appointed by the RF Parliament, was refused a seat in their plane, and accused Kremlin officials of trying to keep him away from Chechnya.
2. Russian forces said they had tightened their grip around the rebels' last major base in the southern mountains.
Military sources said troops were advancing toward the Argun gorge and had blockaded the village of Shatoi, the main rebel stronghold. Russian artillery pounded Shatoi and the surrounding villages of Kharsenoi, Selmentauzen, Ulus-Kert and Nikhaloi during the weekend. Russian forces thwarted attempts by Chechen rebels to break through federal lines and tightened their grip. Russian sources said that Chechen rebels had tried to flee across the border to the neighbouring Georgia.
3. A top Russian military official, Colonel-General Gennady Troshev said on 27 February that a major army campaign to crush separatist strongholds in the mountains of southern Chechnya would not end rebel resistance even if it succeeded. According to the Deputy Chief Commander in Chechnya, the rebels could continue their resistance even after their main strongholds were taken. "When talking about the end of the military operation, we only mean defeating major rebel groups," said Troshev. According to hin, many rebels were hiding in Russian-held areas preparing for hit-and-run attacks similar to those which forced Russia to withdraw its troops after the previous war of 1994-96. During a recent search of the Russian-controlled village of Sergzhen-Yurt southeast of the Chechen capital Grozny police had found a tank, two armored vehicles and a large quantity of ammunition, the general added.
DRC Emergency Assistance Project
Last week DRC field workers conducted distributions of DANIDA and UNHCR winter clothing, UNHCR soap for IDPs of all age groups living in spontaneous settlements and with host families in Ingushetia.
Apart from winter clothing and soap, on 21, 22 February DRC made distribution of remaining stocks of UNICEF jerry cans for IDPs who found temporary accommodation in Alkhasti and Plievo Children’s Boarding House:
Total number of winter clothing distributed by DRC in Ingushetia so far:
Winter coats - 66,903
Winter boots - 65,543 The consolidated cumulative table on DRC distributions is attached.
The attached map of Ingushetia allows one to have a better idea of the territory where DRC is runing its Emergency Relief Program (see page 10) .
DRC FO in Ingushetia continues the registration of the Ingush host families. There have already been registered host families in Malgobek and Sunzha districts and now the registration is on the way in Nazran district. So far DRC has registered 11,653 Ingush host families.
Inter Agency Issues
On 22/02 the Special Assistant of the Islamic Development Bank (Saudi Arabia), Dr. Mohammad Hassan Salem, met with DRC FO in Nazran. Dr. Salem was interested in DRC registration and distribution system. He was also informed about DRC reporting system. IDB expressed readiness to co-operate with DRC and to participate at the weekly Inter-Agency meetings that take place at DRC Field Office in Nazran.
On 25/02 an Inter-Agency meeting took place at DRC FO Ingushetia premises in Nazran. As many as nine international agencies’ representatives participated in the meeting: DRC, MDM, MSF - Holland, MSF - Belgium, CPCD, Mercy Corps International (MCI), Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).
·MCI continues small-scale distributions of hygienic kits for the most vulnerable IDPs in Sernovodsk and Assinovskaya villages (Chechnya). The next MCI’s distribution is planned to take place in a train wagon settlement in Sernovodsk. MCI is strongly oriented towards its development of operations inside Chechnya. Thus, it plans to run a bakery in Achkhoi-Martan, a public canteen in Assinovskaya village.
MDM distribute medicine for IDPs living in "Bart" Tent Camp, located in the town of Karabulak as well as in the whole village of Sernovodsk. In cooperation with the Ingush Ministry of Health MDM is considering a possibility to start a vaccination program. MDM has psychologists working in refugee camps in Ingushetia.
Norwegian Church Aid has been making donations to CPCD. It started supporting "The Little Star" local Chechen NGO which moved to Ingushetia after the war began in Chechnya and now is focused on rehabilitation program for IDP children who left Chechnya for Ingushetia. NCA is currently making a Field Assessment in Ingushetia.
MSF - Holland delivers medicine only to medical institutions. Last week it supplied hospitals and clinics situated in the villages of Sunzhenskaya, Galashki, Ekazhevo, Ingushetia’s Republican Hospital as well as a number of clinics inside Chechnya: Assinovskaya, Achkhoi-Martan, Sernovodsk.
MSF - Belgium is involved in an anti-scabies and anti-pediculosis program. It plans to bring a mobile X-ray laboratory and use it in the refugee camps. In the immediate future MSF – B is going to have activities in Achkhoi-Martan (Chechnya).
CPCD has been running children’s psychological and social rehabilitation program in Ingushetia since October 1999. It has a bakery in Sleptsovskaya that will be installed and adjusted in the near future. At the same time CPCD follows up a Human Rights Protection program in the North Caucasus organising seminars and meetings on the subject.
Last week Enaam Arnaout, the representative of Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), visited DRC FO in Nazran and had a series of meetings with DRC Nazran Program Coordinator, Mr. Kharon Deniev. The latter briefed BIF on DRC distribution system and provided assistance in working out of a motivation for the BIF future psychological rehabilitation program that is to begin shortly.
A Workshop on NGO Capacity-Building for Complex Emergencies took place in Stavropol on 24 - 27 February. The Workshop was organized and facilitated jointly by Norwegian Refugee Council together with Danish Refugee Council and UNHCR and financed by UNHCR. The training was a part of the CISCONF Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance project coordinated by NRC. 28 local NGO representatives participated in the Workshop. The following objectives were highlighted at the seminar: Humanitarian Law on Civilians in Conflict (4th Geneva Convention and 2nd Protocol); Protection and Assistance in Refugee like Situations, Codes of Conduct; Evaluation Process; Minimum Standards in Disaster Response; People-Oriented Planning; Food and Nutrition; Water and Sanitation; Health; Education.
Stavropol, 28 February 2000.
For further information, please contact:
Country Program Manager Tom Trier (8) 901 498 08 25
Inter-Agency Officer Zelim Yandarov (8) 901 498 08 24
DRC North Caucasus
Ul. Lenina 458/210
355 029 Stavropol
DRC distribution of UNHCR winter clothing in Ingushetia
Distribution of DANIDA funded winter clothing in Ingushetia
DRC distribution of NRC winter clothing in Ingushetia
DRC distribution of DCA funded winter clothing in Ingushetia
DRC distribution of UNICEF winter jackets, soap, laundry powder, tooth paste and jerry cans
Total number of non-food items distributed by DRC’s direct distribution system in Ingushetia so far: