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Russian Federation: ICRC activities from January to March 2008

29-04-2008 Operational Update

The ICRC carries out a wide range of activities in the Russian Federation, focusing on restoring family links, instigating small income-generating projects for vulnerable communities in the northern Caucasus, providing sanitation aid and mine-risk education, promoting international humanitarian law and supporting Russian Red Cross programmes.

 Restoring family links  

Between January and March, the ICRC:

  • raised issues of concern at high-level meetings with Russian Federation ministers during the visit of the ICRC President to Moscow in January 2008 – in particular the issue of missing persons in relation to the situation in the northern Caucasus, and the need for a national mechanism to prevent people from becoming unaccounted for and to provide answers to the families of missing persons;

  • sponsored more than 75 family visits to detainees in the Russian Federation;

  • enabled detainees to be in contact with their families through its Red Cross message service.

 Micro-economic initiatives  

    

As reconstruction and economic recovery have picked up in the northern Caucasus, the ICRC has moved from emergency assistance towards programmes aimed at recovery and sustainability, launching micro-economic projects for an increasing number of people in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia.

Between January and March 2008, 73 families in Chechnya, 36 in Ingushetia and 20 in Dagestan were provided with equipment to start a small business.

    

 Medical assistance  

    

The Chechen health system has continued to receive increased funding from the federal and local authorities, enabling the ICRC to further reduce its aid deliveries to medical facilities.

Support to the Grozny prosthetic/orthopaedic centre and training of Chechen technicians both continued. This included a one-day orthopaedic seminar for 33 doctors from 15 republican hospitals and polyclinics, at which discussions on a variety of prosthetic issues took place between representatives of the prosthetic/orthopaedic centre and officials from the Chechen Republic Ministry of Health.

    

 Water and sanitation  

    

The ICRC improves living conditions by rehabilitating water supplies, sanitation and housing, and by helping local public utilities to supply these services.

    

Between January and March 2008, the ICRC:

  • completed projects to restore or extend water supply in the three villages of Tevzana, Agishbatoy and Ersenoy, as well as continuing projects in another four: Itum-Kale, Tsa-Vedeno, Zamay-Yurt and Kakadoy;

  • finished an assessment of the water systems in a further 15 villages, six of which will be selected for new rehabilitation projects.

 Mine action  

    

The mine-action programme helps civilians avoid accidents caused by unexploded mines and other devices. The ICRC promotes the creation of special areas where children can play and undertake sports activities safely.

Between January and March 2008, the ICRC held a mine-risk education competition for teachers and – in cooperation with the authorities -- installed five new billboards around Grozny to raise awareness of the risks of mines and unexploded munitions. It also carried out an assessment of 34 safe-play areas built between 2004 and 2006, of which 12 will be repaired in 2008.

    

 Promoting international humanitarian law  

Promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) is a key part of the ICRC's work in Russia, working with the authorities, the military, schools and universities.

Between January and March 2008, the ICRC:

  • finalized the draft legislation on missing persons, which was approved by the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (IPA) of the Commonwealth of Independent States in April 2008; it is expected to be adopted by the IPA during its autumn session in St Petersburg in November 2008;

  • lectured on the ICRC's role and activities and IHL at several academic institutions, including the Moscow State Law Academy, Grozny State University, School No. 7 in Nalchik and the Makhachkala branch of Krasnodar University;

  • gave presentations on IHL to Ministry of the Interior internal troops in Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia and Stavropol regions, as well as at the Stavropol branch of the Krasnodar Ministry of Interior Institute;

  • presented a lecture entitled “IHL and its influence on the use of the conventional weapons” to around 200 senior officers of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) – part of the ICRC’s programme of continuous training for high-r anking MOD staff.

 Cooperation with the Russian Red Cross  

In addition to its support for tracing missing persons and promotion of international humanitarian law at Russian Red Cross headquarters, the ICRC finances aid programmes at branches in Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia.

The ICRC supports the home-visiting programme which provides nursing care to more than 1,275 elderly people and distributes food parcels to over 800 people through Russian Red Cross branches in Chechnya and Ingushetia.

From January to March 2008, the ICRC:

  • supervised playrooms for around 200 children at temporary accommodation centres in Grozny and about 1,000 children in three settlements in Ingushetia – the playrooms encourage children to interact under the guidance of psychologists and teachers;

  • enabled around 300 teenagers to attend various recreational classes, including computer skills training, English language classes and sports activities at Red Cross centres in Grozny, and computer classes and sports activities at Russian Red Crescent recreational centres in Grozny and Nazran;

  • ran a seminar for regional branches of the Russian Red Cross on the history of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and international humanitarian law.