Georgia/Chechnya: UNHCR temporarily suspends aid activities
Following a request from Georgian authorities, UNHCR has temporarily suspended its aid activities in Georgia's Pankisi Valley region, which hosts some 3,800 Chechen refugees. We are concerned that the situation stabilize so that the refugees can remain in safety and continue to receive protection in the Pankisi Valley, and we are closely following developments there.
The current suspension of activities is the most recent in the region, where security concerns and lawlessness have prompted short-term suspensions of aid a number of times in the past. UNHCR hopes to resume work soon. Recent distribution of food and other aid items have provided the refugees with sufficient supplies through mid-August.
UNHCR has been working with the Georgian government on improving protection for the refugees in Pankisi, most of whom fled fighting in Chechnya in 1999. Among other activities, UNHCR earlier this year supported the government's re-registration of the refugees in the valley by helping to plan the operation, providing funding and computer equipment, and training government staff. The re-registration allowed the government to develop a clearer picture of the refugee population in need of protection and assistance in Georgia.