06MOSCOW510, MSF RUSSIA: CHECHNYA IS STILL A HUMANITARIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW510 2006-01-20 14:06 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7291
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0510 0201406
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 201406Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9473
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 000510 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/20/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM EAID PREF RS
SUBJECT: MSF RUSSIA:  CHECHNYA IS STILL A HUMANITARIAN 
CRISIS 
 
REF: MOSCOW 396 
 
Classified By: Minister Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) MSF-Russia asked us to meet with heads of mission from 
MSF-France (Manuel Lannaud) and -Belgium (Goran Svedin) 
January 20 to receive a report on the humanitarian situation 
in Chechnya (MSF-Holland HOM was out of Moscow).  MSF 
declared that there was still a humanitarian crisis in 
Chechnya, and MSF opposed UNDP plans to make the transition 
from humanitarian assistance to reconstruction assistance. 
Lannaud stated that MSF has dissociated itself entirely from 
the UNDP plan, which MSF sees as a concession to Russian 
claims that the situation in Chechnya has normalized. 
 
2. (C) Lannaud stated that according to MSF and official 
data, those IDPs who returned to Chechnya suffer worse health 
conditions than they did when living in tents in Ingushetia. 
Several years after their return, the former IDPs are still 
in "temporary accommodation centers" in Chechnya without 
basic utilities and services.  The incidence of tuberculosis 
is 1.5-2 times higher in Chechnya than the national average. 
The psychological health of the population is still poor, 
with 80 percent having suffered or witnessed acts of 
violence.  The main government trauma hospital in Groznyy 
still reports an average of two war-related injuries per day 
(gunshot wounds, mine explosions, etc.). 
 
3. (C) MSF made the point that it is a humanitarian NGO and 
cannot participate in reconstruction efforts, despite the 
requests of local governments in the region.  Though the 
health system in Chechnya is virtually non-existent outside 
Groznyy and MSF runs clinics and TB dispensaries of its own, 
MSF cannot help build hospitals or support the development of 
the Ministry of Health. 
 
4. (C) Asked whether MSF has felt pressure concerning its 
registration, of the sort detailed in Reftel, the MSF 
officials said no:  though they are often mentioned by 
Russian officials and commentators alongside such human 
rights NGOs as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International 
("the troublemakers"), in practice on the ground they are 
treated as the purely humanitarian organization they claim to 
be.  Lannaud said he had met with the Ingush government 
official in charge of liaison with NGOs, and said he could 
understand the difficulties others were having:  the official 
viewed the NGOs as resource providers who could be directed 
to provide whatever resources the local government needed, 
according to plans and divisions of labor decided by the 
local government.  Lannaud viewed the new Russian NGO law as 
a tool for local officials to reinforce this position. 
BURNS

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