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Country Reports
CHECHNYA, Landmine Monitor Report 2005


Key developments since May 2004: Russian federal forces and Chechen rebels continued to use antipersonnel landmines, albeit with less frequency. The rebels primarily use command-detonated bombs and improvised explosive devices. In early 2005, it was calculated that 30 percent of agricultural land in Chechnya is contaminated by mines and unexploded ordnance. In March 2005, the first humanitarian clearance capacity since 1999 arrived in Chechnya to conduct clearance of agricultural areas and survey and clear Grozny’s chemical plant. A survey by UNICEF in September 2004 found that more than one in ten children has a mine survivor in the family and one in five has seen a real mine. During 2004, UNICEF and its partners focused mine risk education on schoolchildren and their parents; in 2005 UNICEF introduced a community-based approach and was appointed the lead UN agency. An evaluation of its mine risk education program was conducted in January 2005. A significant decrease in civilian mine/UXO casualties was recorded in 2004. Azerbaijan agreed to provide free rehabilitation services to disabled Chechen refugees, including mine survivors.

Mine Ban Policy

Chechnya is not an internationally recognized sovereign state, and therefore cannot accede to the Mine Ban Treaty. A military official said in January 2000, “The question of banning the use of antipersonnel mines, which we put to some field commanders...caused unconcealed indignation. The main conclusion made by our representatives is that mines will not be discarded from general military strategy by either the Russian Army or the Chechen detachments.”[1] This view apparently still holds.

Production, Transfer and Stockpiling

A Chechen official told Landmine Monitor in 2001 that the “Chechen Republic has no factories for making mines,” and there have been no reports of mass production of landmines in Chechnya.[2] Chechen rebels continued to make and use large numbers of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Raids by Russian Forces of Chechen weapons caches in 2004 and 2005 most frequently yielded materials used in the construction of IEDs, such as plastic explosive, detonators and artillery shells. But such raids also found manufactured mines. In one example, on 20 September 2004, forces from the Russian Interior Ministry and Vostok Special Battalion seized a rebel cache in Gudermes district containing 18 antipersonnel mines, 11 assembled and ready-to-use IEDs, 46 hand grenades, 70 VOG grenades for grenade launchers and 23 fuzes.[3] In the month of May 2005, Ministry of Interior forces seized 10 mines, 11 IEDs, 59 TNT sticks, 25 electric detonators, plastic explosives and other components for IEDs in about 15 incidents.[4]

There has been no official declaration from Chechen officials on export or import of mines. In 1999, a Chechen military officer told Landmine Monitor that all rebel mines were either obtained from the Russian military or were left over from the first war in Chechnya.[5]

Use by Russian Forces

Russian forces used both hand-emplaced and remotely-delivered antipersonnel mines in great numbers in 1999 and 2000 as the war resumed and was being fought at a high level of intensity. In January 2001, a Russian military official reportedly said that Russian forces had sown more than 500,000 landmines in Chechnya.[6] It appears there has been little to no use of remotely-delivered mines and greatly reduced use of hand-emplaced mines in recent years as the conflict evolved into more classic guerrilla warfare.[7]

In August 2005, Russian military officials claimed that Russian Ministry of Defense forces have not used antipersonnel mines in Chechnya in 2004 or 2005.[8] They said they could not comment on whether other Russian forces (Interior Ministry, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Border Guards or others) have used them in that time. Previously, the Russian government has said that it only uses mines in Chechnya in cases of “dire necessity,” and asserted that its mine usage is in compliance with Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons.[9]

Landmine Monitor has been unable to identify many concrete instances or allegations of new use of antipersonnel mines by Russian forces in 2004 or 2005. In one case, the Memorial Human Rights Center in Nazran reported that Russian forces laid mines in areas immediately around the village of Zumsoi in the mountainous Itum-Kalinsky district in early 2005. According to Memorial, after two “military servicemen” were injured in February 2005 by mines in the mountains around Zumsoi, “representatives of the security agencies mined the outskirts of the village forests, roads, and tracks to the drinking water. Starting in early March in the proximity of Zumsoi, cattle have been regularly exploding on landmines.”[10]

Use by Chechen Rebels

Chechen rebels have used mines extensively, although in recent years they have more commonly used improvised explosive devices rather than mass-produced landmines.[11] At the start of the renewed conflict in 1999, Chechen forces primarily used mines left over from the breakup of the Soviet Union, mainly antivehicle mines, but also some antipersonnel mines (PMN, PMN-2, OZM-72, MON-50, MON-100 and MON-200).

IEDs have become the main form of explosive device used by insurgent groups, possibly due to a depletion of Soviet stocks and to an abundance of readily available material for constructing IEDs. Media reports of incidents freely interchange the terms mine, IED and bomb, making it difficult to ascertain the nature of the device and its method of activation.

According to one source, Russian engineers in the North Caucasus Military District cleared nearly 300 rebel-planted landmines in 2004, most of which were equipped with electronic remote control devices.[12] Mine incidents attributed to Chechen rebels mainly take place on roads and are targeted against vehicle convoys of Russian forces or officials of the pro-Russian administration.[13] Mines and IEDs are often used to initiate ambushes on these vehicle convoys. For example, two members of a military transportation regiment were injured near the Novyie Atagi settlement in the Shali district when an explosive device detonated near their vehicle, initiating an ambush.[14] Russian forces engineer reconnaissance teams and deminers are also especially targeted.[15] However, the Russian Ministry of Interior Affairs reported that the number of losses among its forces due to mines fell by a half in January–March 2004, compared with the same period of 2003.[16]

Landmine Monitor has noted in the past that the rebels have reportedly paid civilians, including children, to plant mines,[17] and sometimes used threats and blackmail to compel civilian help.[18]

Based on information compiled by Landmine Monitor from reports by the RIA-Novosti news agency, there were nearly 40 incidents involving attacks with explosives from July 2004 through July 2005, killing at least 16 people and injuring at least 83. IEDs controlled by radio or electric wire detonators were used in the majority of cases. There were also reports of rebel-planted IEDs that were victim-activated.

In some cases, it appears the rebels deliberately targeted civilians; they reportedly planted blast mines next to a bus stop,[19] the central mosque of Grozny[20] and a school.[21] On 4 August 2004, a Ministry of Interior engineer reconnaissance team found a victim-activated IED made with an 82-mm mortar shell planted on the path to fruit gardens used by local residents.[22] There were also reports that the rebels mined agricultural lands shortly before the seeding period in spring 2005.[23]

In a widely publicized incident in September 2004, an armed group seized a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, taking 1,128 hostages. In a letter published on the internet, Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility.[24] The hostage-takers emplaced both antipersonnel mines and IEDs throughout the school, including in a gymnasium crowded with over 1,000 children and their parents. According to data released by the Russian parliamentary commission investigating the Beslan events, 330 people were killed and at least 727 wounded as a result of the seizure of the school, the IED and mine explosions, and the subsequent siege of the school.[25] (See Russian Federation country report for more details).

Landmine and UXO Problem

Ongoing hostilities between Russian forces and Chechen separatists have prevented accurate assessment of contamination by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Chechnya since 1999. However, it is clear that the region is heavily mine/UXO-affected. In early 2005, the Chechen Ministry of Agriculture was reported as claiming that 30 percent of all agricultural land in the republic was mine/UXO-affected. The head of the Ministry’s Department for Crop Growing claimed that 6,185 hectares (nearly 62 square kilometers) of cropland was contaminated with landmines. He stated that the most affected territory was Grozny agricultural region, where about 2,000 hectares alone were contaminated.[26]

Other badly affected areas are Sunjenskiy region and Achkhoy-Martanovskiy. These lands are not currently cultivated as there is a high risk of mine explosions, evidenced by the 26 people reported as having become mine casualties while farming there. It is also claimed that even if the land is cleared, it will take at least three years to return it to earlier productivity levels.[27]

A KAP (Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice) survey was conducted by UNICEF in September 2004 with European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) support, covering 376 children in Grozny city and Groznenskiy district. The survey revealed that, for children, mine and UXO contamination is the biggest problem affecting their community. More than one in ten children has a mine survivor in his or her family. One in five children has seen a real mine.[28]

Danish Demining Group (DDG), which has been working in Chechnya since 2000, also reports that agricultural land and forests are among the most contaminated areas. It believes, however, that UXO constitute a more serious threat than landmines, with the most dangerous areas being where trench battles were fought. None of the areas contaminated with mines or UXO is marked or fenced, and there is very little information to indicate the potential density of contamination.[29]

In 2003, the Russian military declared that there were “virtually no minefields left,” in Grozny, although it acknowledged that the threat of UXO remained.[30] Mines are occasionally discovered in the area. In early 2005, for instance, during road repairs in the Zavod region of Grozny, workers discovered an unexploded mine. According to the press center of Regional Operative Headquarters on the Administration of Counter-terrorist Operations in the North Caucasus, traces of corrosion showed that the mine had been in the ground for several years and could have exploded at the slightest touch.[31]

Mine Action Coordination and Planning

There is no formal mine action program in Chechnya. Most efforts to date have concentrated on providing mine risk education. The International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) for mine risk education have not been specifically applied in Chechnya and no national standards have been developed.

All data on civilian mine and UXO casualties is entered into the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database by UNICEF.[32] Throughout 2004, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continued to collect data on mine incidents through hospitals in Chechnya.[33]

Mine/UXO Clearance and Survey

In 2004, as in previous years, all mine clearance activity in Chechnya was carried out by Russian forces. Operations are designed primarily to keep transport lines open and ensure the safe operation of military facilities.

In March 2005, it was reported that the first humanitarian mine clearance capacity had arrived in Grozny since the HALO Trust left Chechnya at the end of 1999.[34] A group of deminers and a mechanical demining unit employed by a Russian government body, the Federal Ministry of Emergencies (EMERCOM), has been tasked to clear selected agricultural land, as well as to survey and clear Grozny’s chemical plant.[35] Known as “Leader,” the group was previously working in Kosovo. Leader’s work in Chechnya is carried out by 33 deminers, using manual and mechanical methods. Between 3 March 2005 (when operations started) and May, the group cleared 190 hectares of agricultural land around Grozny. Leader plans to work in Chechnya until all the mines and UXO have been cleared.[36]

This development resulted from an agreement between the Prime Minister of Chechnya and the head of EMERCOM. The urgent need for a serious process of humanitarian clearance in Chechnya has been repeatedly urged by UNICEF, including in the course of meetings held with local authorities.[37]

There is no information on any accidents during demining operations in Chechnya in 2004 or the first half of 2005.

Mine Risk Education

In 2004, ICRC and UNICEF continued to be the primary agencies involved in the coordination and implementation of mine risk education (MRE) in Chechnya, working in cooperation with local NGOs. ICRC continued to develop and deliver MRE in partnership with Minga, a local NGO, and Chechen government ministries.

In addition, the Ministry of Education, Danish Demining Group and Danish Refugee Council undertake MRE programs. Off-the-record reports from operators suggest that the Chechen resistance does not cooperate in MRE activities.

In 2005, UNICEF was appointed the MRE focal point and lead UN agency for the mine action program in North Caucasus. UNICEF partner organizations include Voice of the Mountains, Let’s Save the Generation, CARE Canada and People In Need. During 2004, UNICEF and its partner organizations focused activities on schoolchildren and their parents, while ICRC and DDG were primarily focused on community-based MRE. In 2005, this changed to a geographical division of responsibilities, with UNICEF also adopting a community-based approach.[38]

MRE activities target children and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Children are targeted as they are often injured due to the absence of safe play areas, while IDPs are vulnerable due to their displacement and risk-taking activities, such as foraging in wooded areas for food or firewood.[39]

In 2005, UNICEF, with the support of its main implementing partner Voice of the Mountains, completed the creation of 10 mine focus groups in Achkhoy-Martanskiy, Urus-Martanovskiy, Shalinskiy and Gudermesskiy districts, as well as in Grozny. The Chechen government confirmed its full support for this initiative and provided the necessary assistance. Each focus group includes an administration official, hospital representative, religious leader and representative of the Chechen Youth Committee. These groups are created to ensure the future sustainability of the MRE program and identify appropriate ways to reduce the impact of mine/UXO contamination.[40]

Some 15 “letter-boxes” have also been created in each district of Chechnya to gather information on mine/UXO incidents, with people encouraged to submit information about dangerous areas. The project, and the distribution of MRE materials, has been supported with funds from ECHO, and from the British and Dutch UNICEF national committees.[41]

In 2004, approximately 28,000 children received some form of MRE in Chechnya and Ingushetia through UNICEF-assisted programs.[42] In 2004, 45,000 notebooks, 45,588 pens, 40,000 posters, 2,518 T-shirts and 41,022 diaries with mine risk education messages were distributed. In 2005, 550 T-shirts, 10,000 posters and 89,500 leaflets with mine risk education messages were distributed, primarily to children, as well as 300 MRE fairytale storybooks and 800 books with stories about mine survivors.[43]

In April 2005, UNICEF and the UN Department for Safety and Security in the Russian Federation (UNDSS) jointly organized two Landmines and UXO Safety Project trainings, developed by the UN Mine Action Service. Some 60 participants (from UNDSS, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNDP, FAO and ACF) attended the seminars.[44]

ICRC provides MRE primarily through media campaigns and special events. In 2004, it organized a public information campaign involving 10 newspapers throughout Chechnya, publishing articles containing MRE safety messages and stories of mine victims. ICRC supported the production of 15-minute TV spots, developed by a famous Chechen artist, with MRE messages and advice. These were broadcast on seven regional TV stations. Roundtable discussions were held to brief journalists and information bulletins were provided in support of this.[45]

ICRC, with funding from the Norwegian Red Cross, constructed six safe play areas in 2004 in places where the mine and UXO threat is severe: four in Grozny; one in Pervomayskaya village; one in Argun town. Local communities provided support by removing garbage and painting installed equipment. Children designed MRE information boards that were placed in these play areas. Using a child-to-child approach, children developed safety messages to address to other children. Using a famous MRE character, Cheerdig, the children’s magazine Rainbow continued to publish MRE stories, which are used by schools for creating their own puppet theatre or MRE play.[46]

Also in 2004, ICRC supported the We Will Conquer Mines children’s festival involving 25 schools, and the Graffiti initiative, which posted safety messages in the streets of Grozny, implemented by Let’s Save the Generation.[47]

Danish Demining Group continued its MRE activities, providing direct presentations mainly to Chechen adults. In view of the scheduled closure of internally displaced persons (IDP) tent-camps in Ingushetia during 2004, DDG initiated an ad hoc MRE campaign in one of the biggest camps (Satsita) focused on possible returnees. During the year, DDG instructors also linked MRE campaigns to IDP-support activities, particularly those of the Danish Refugee Council, carrying out MRE activities at its biggest distribution points in Ingushetia (Nazran, Karabulak, Malgobeck and Sleptsovskaya).[48]

MRE activity was also undertaken at main bus stations in Ingushetia from where Chechen IDPs regularly travel to visit their relatives. The instructors provided MRE during the journey, and each bus and taxi was provided with booklets with MRE messages for passengers to read on their way to Chechnya. In addition, all bus drivers received leaflets with safety recommendations. Posters with warning messages and information on mine-safe behavior were hung at every bus station.[49]

On 8 April 2004, DDG and the Local Center of Children’s Creativity conducted a children’s festival, Life Without Mines. The festival included poems, songs, role-plays and other interactive games. Participants from nine schools took part in the event. Representatives of local authorities and media were invited. All participants and guests of the festival received T-shirts, booklets and other material with warning messages.[50]

Also in 2004, in cooperation with the local administration, DDG instructors visited all public service, educational and child institutions in seven villages. MRE workshops were carried out in 13 schools in Tsotsan-Yurt, Mairtup, Geldagan, Alleroi, Tsentoroi and Bachi-Yurt villages for a total of 7,365 children; 760 parents also participated in MRE presentations at parents’ meetings in the same schools. In Vedensky district, DDG instructors held 15 workshops for the adult population in the central library in Vedeno village. In general, interest in receiving MRE remains high with many people keen to learn and pass messages on.[51]

In total, during 2004 the DDG MRE program reached 62,492 people: 5,142 in Ingushetia, 21,803 in Groznensky district, 16,642 in Kurchaloisky district, 9,108 in Vedensky district, 9,797 in Nozhai-Yurtovsky district. More than 20,000 MRE booklets, 10,000 leaflets, 20,000 calendars, 4,000 posters, 3,000 T-shirts for children and 30,000 schoolbooks with warning messages were developed and distributed.[52]

From January to April 2005, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) conducted MRE campaigns in Grozny, Arqun, Gudermes, Vedeno, Alkhan-Kala and Dachu-Barzoy settlements, including seminars for students in high schools in Grozny. In other districts, MRE was carried out in schools, hospitals, mosques, cultural centers, bus stations and libraries. During January-April 2005, instructors reached 11,481 people.[53] DRC also implemented a UNICEF-supported project in which 453 teachers from Chechnya were trained in MRE, who then held MRE presentations in their respective schools.[54]

During 2004, Voice of the Mountains continued to monitor and assist six leisure centers in Grozny, Achkhoy-Martan, Shali and Shatoy, which are regularly attended by children and adolescents from the area. With UNICEF, it is planning six new centers in other mine and UXO-affected districts of Chechnya.[55]

In 2005, Chechen State Drama Theater and Let’s Save the Generation continued to create MRE drama circles. Two drama circles, with the involvement of 14 children, were established in secondary school No.3 in Samashki and in school No.14 in Grozny, with financial support from Germany and the Dutch UNICEF national committee. Some 500 children from the same schools also benefited from drama presentations performed by actors of the Chechen theater.[56]

MRE integrated into the school curriculum in 2002 continued to be used in 2004-2005, and was the subject of a UNICEF evaluation in 2005. The MRE content for the school curriculum was developed by Voice of the Mountains, UNICEF, Chechen Ministry of Education, ICRC, UN and NGO partners.[57]

Evaluation of MRE

In January 2005, a rapid evaluation of UNICEF’s MRE program was conducted by an international consultant, with financial support from ECHO. The objective was to review and assess ongoing MRE activities in the North Caucasus region and provide recommendations for improvement. The consultant visited project sites and met with partners, as well as beneficiaries in Grozny and in IDP settlements in Ingushetia. A special meeting was held with the Grozny administration, with a view to fostering its active involvement in the community-based MRE promoted by UNICEF. UNICEF also held a number of meetings with stakeholders to review results in 2004 and the sector plans for 2005.[58]

With regard to the integration of MRE in the school curriculum in Chechnya, the evaluation recommended the continuation of this project due to its sustainable nature.[59]

Funding and Assistance

In 2004, three countries and the European Commission (EC) reported providing a total of US$804,066 for mine action in Chechnya and surrounding regions:

  • Canada: C$59,029 ($45,348) to UNICEF for MRE and advocacy;[60]
  • EC: €300,000 ($373,140) to UNICEF for MRE for children;[61]
  • Finland: €180,000 ($223,884) to the Finish Red Cross/ICRC for MRE and victim assistance;[62]
  • Germany: €130,000 ($161,694) to UNICEF for MRE and victim assistance for women and children in Chechnya.[63]

In addition to funds reported by donors, by November 2004 UNICEF reported having received mine action funding from the UNICEF Dutch National Committee ($282,963), the Swedish International Development Agency ($40,000) and UK’s Department for International Development ($132,000).[64] Total funds received by UNICEF for mine action in Chechnya and surrounding regions in 2004 is $1,035,145. In 2003, UNICEF reported receiving $625,000 for mine action.[65]

Landmine Casualties

The total number of landmine casualties in Chechnya is not known. The ongoing armed conflict and the volatile security situation has made collection of comprehensive data extremely difficult, and the actual number of casualties is likely higher than reported.[66] In 2004, ICRC-assisted hospitals reported assisting 165 people with mine injuries.[67] UNICEF recorded 94 new civilian mine/UXO casualties in 2004, including 22 killed and 72 injured; 31 were children (five killed and 26 injured). This represents a significant decrease from the 209 new civilian mine/UXO casualties (41 killed and 168 injured), recorded by UNICEF in 2003.[68]

Landmine Monitor recorded at least 396 new casualties (199 killed and 197 injured) caused by landmines, UXO and improvised explosive devices from international media sources in 2004, including 339 military personnel, militants, sappers and police, and three women and six children.[69]

Casualties continued in 2005, with UNICEF recording 18 new civilian mine/UXO casualties to June.[70]

Until the end of 2004, UNICEF was working with staff of three local NGOs―Voice of the Mountains (VoM), Minga and Let’s Save the Generation―on data collection and data management using the Information Management System for Mine Action. The database is managed by VoM in Grozny. In 2005, VoM trained 15 monitors in 15 districts of Chechnya as data gatherers as part of a new surveillance system, supported by local authorities, based on “letter boxes” to collect information on mine/UXO casualties. The monitors are each provided with a computer, printer and cell phone to maintain a simple database and to report to VoM immediately after an incident.[71]

The total number of mine/UXO casualties in Chechnya is not known. However, the number of new mine/UXO casualties appears to be reducing over time. Between 1995 and June 2005, UNICEF recorded 3,031 civilian landmine/UXO casualties (691 killed and 2,340 injured), including over 737 children: 18 casualties in 2005; 94 in 2004; 209 in 2003; 446 in 2002; 643 in 2001; 720 in 2000; 373 in 1999; 528 from 1995-1998. UNICEF reports that around 48 percent of casualties are caused by landmines; 19 percent are females and about 24 percent are children. The data indicates that more than 20 percent of casualties suffered an amputation, and the 18 to 29-year-old age group is the most affected. At 966, Grozny has recorded the highest number of casualties.[72]

The Chechen Center of Catastrope Medicine reports a significant decrease in the number of civilian casualties caused by mines, booby-traps, UXO and IEDs since 2002.  In 2004, 408 Chechen casualties (87 killed and 321 injured) were recorded, including 32 children; 1,363 casualties (213 killed and 1,150 injured) were reported in 2003, and 3,355 (539 killed and 2,816 injured) in 2002. In the first eight months of 2005, 195 casualties (18 killed and 177 injured) were reported, including 41 children.  The Chechen Ministry of Interior attributed the decrease to mine risk education and demining efforts.[73]

Survivor Assistance

Surgical and general health facilities in Chechnya were devastated by war and a lack of resources, maintenance, skilled staff, equipment, basic supplies and emergency transport; the security situation also hampers the delivery of adequate assistance. Many international agencies and local and international NGOs are working to strengthen the health infrastructure in Chechnya and neighboring republics. Significant problems faced by mine survivors include their inability to access skilled medical assistance, and a lack of psychological support and social care.[74] However, it would appear that some progress is being made with the renovation of hospitals, and the training of healthcare providers. For example, the inter-regional charity Garantiya (Guarantee) has facilitated the establishment of the Committee of Physicians with the aim of rebuilding the Chechen health system.[75] In January 2005, the Ministry of Health of Chechnya received a donation of 70 vehicles, including 36 ambulances.[76]

The World Health Organization June 2004 directory details health services available to all Chechens, including the internally displaced in neighboring republics.[77] Organizations active in mine survivor assistance-related activities include UNICEF-supported implementing partners, CARE Canada, Chechen Society for Disabled, Let’s Save the Generation, Minga, People in Need Foundation, Voice of the Mountains, and also Danish Refugee Council/Danish Peoples Aid, Handicap International (HI), ICRC and WHO.[78]

DDG also sought to provide adult groups in the region with training in basic first aid skills, such as how to stop bleeding, shock prevention, artificial respiration and heart massage. First aid courses are considered to be important amongst the general public since few have sufficient knowledge to provide medical assistance to mine and UXO casualties. It usually takes many hours to get those injured by mines to the nearest functioning hospital.[79]

ICRC supported 10 hospitals in Chechnya and two referral hospitals in Ingushetia and Dagestan in 2004 through the provision of surgical supplies, medicines and equipment to improve the quality of care. ICRC-supported hospitals assisted 760 war-wounded, including 165 mine casualties in 2004. ICRC also facilitated specialized war surgery training for 40 surgeons from the northern Caucasus in Moscow and Nalchik, and 27 other Chechen doctors attended specialized courses.[80] In July 2004, the No. 1 Central Town Hospital of Gudermes was re-opened after ICRC funded capital renovations worth $95,000. ICRC also provided new equipment for the hospital, particularly for the surgical and trauma departments.[81]

On 1 February 2005, the main building of Grozny Central Clinical Hospital, which was totally demolished during combat actions, reopened to admit 25 patients. Once rebuilding is complete, the hospital will have a capacity of 150 beds.[82]

On 9 May 2005, Grozny Republican Hospital for Veterans of Wars re-opened in Leninsky district of Grozny with four departments, including surgery and physical therapy.[83]

ICRC supports the Ministry of Health and Social Development-run orthopedic center in Grozny, which is the only physical rehabilitation center in Chechnya. In 2004, the center assisted 134 people, produced 137 prostheses (101 for mine survivors), and distributed 92 crutches and five wheelchairs. About 1,000 people, mostly amputees, are registered at the center. In addition to on-the-job training for technicians, eight prosthetic technicians from Chechnya graduated from a two-year, ICRC-funded training program at Sochi Orthopedic Center (in southern Russia). Another six technicians participated in a physiotherapy training seminar.[84] Trained technicians reportedly have the capacity to produce eight or nine prostheses a month; however the need for prostheses in Chechnya is estimated at a few thousand.[85]

Survivor assistance is one of the main components of UNICEF’s Mine Action Program in the North Caucasus. The program focuses on mine-injured children and women from Chechnya, and includes physical rehabilitation, the fitting of prostheses, psychosocial counseling and vocational training. UNICEF works with WHO and other NGO partners to facilitate services for the physical and psychosocial rehabilitation of mine survivors and others affected by the conflict. In 2004, UNICEF supported its prosthetic-orthopedic project in Vladikavkaz providing transportation to affected children and women from Chechnya. Since March 2005, the program shifted inside Chechnya because of the enhanced capacity of the Grozny Prosthetic Workshop, which can produce above and below-knee prostheses. In 2004, UNICEF supported the production of 99 prostheses and 60 orthopedic shoes. In addition, UNICEF also provided 93 wheelchairs, 370 walking sticks and 550 crutches, for distribution to disabled women and children through the Ministry of Health and local NGOs. UNICEF also supported the training of two nurses in physical rehabilitation for mine survivors and disabled children, and doctors in prosthetic assistance. UNICEF also supports the Republican Clinical Hospital in Grozny with essential medical equipment and to provide physical rehabilitation for child mine/UXO survivors. In 2004, around 2,400 children received treatment.[86]

WHO’s mine-victim assistance program in the northern Caucasus for the period 2000-2004 supported the production of 671 prostheses and 3,000 other orthopedic devices, and repaired 92 prostheses. WHO also provided psychosocial support for 3,100 child mine survivors and other people with a disability.[87]

Handicap International’s program of support to people with disability in Chechnya includes three main components: support to rehabilitation services, including training medical staff, donating equipment and supporting individuals to access prosthetic fittings; capacity-building of local organizations working on the disability issue, including supporting distribution of mobility aids, an awareness raising campaign and the publication of services available to people with disability; strengthening community level resources, including training social workers on dealing with disabled people, providing information about disability and related services, and enhancing their ability to promote the inclusion of people with disability in the community. HI works in cooperation with the Chechen Association for the Disabled, Let’s Save the Generation and Chechen Ministry of Health. In 2004, 900 people benefited from the program, including 83 mine survivors. HI also facilitated the provision of 30 prostheses, 180 crutches, 159 wheelchairs, and 500 walking frames.[88]

In 2004, the NGO Minga distributed wheelchairs, crutches and walking sticks in six districts of Chechnya. The Zaschita Russian Center of Disaster Medicine also provides health services for civilians in the northern Caucasus.[89]

In 2004, CARE Canada, with the support of UNICEF and local NGO Let’s Save the Generation (LSG), ran a psychosocial rehabilitation program for groups of 30 war-affected children, including mine survivors, at the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center in Vladikavkaz; over 250 children benefited from the program. Since 2005, UNICEF is working only with local LSG on the project.[90]

Let’s Save the Generation, with support from UNICEF and WHO, provides psychosocial support at the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center in Grozny for disabled children and their families. In 2004, the center assisted 226 children; all were mine/UXO survivors.[91] As of 24 February 2005, LSG had registered 119 children and young people affected by mines/UXO living in Grozny; 40 are amputees, 64 have shrapnel wounds, and 15 are affected by cerebral traumas and burns.[92]

UNICEF and Voice of the Mountains support two soccer teams of child mine survivors in Grozny and Achkhoy-Martan. The teams play games and participate in joint training with the Vladikavkaz professional amputee football club. In December 2004, a team participated in the annual Russian Federation President’s Cup and secured third place in the tournament. Three players have been short listed for inclusion in the Russian National Team of Disabled. In 2004, 22 young mine/UXO survivors were coached to play football.[93]

On 27 February 2004, the Landmine Café in Grozny, established by landmine survivors and supported by ICRC and Minga, opened. The café employs nine mine survivors and aims to support the social reintegration of persons with disabilities.[94]

Voice of the Mountains, with support from UNICEF, operates three-month vocational training courses in English and computers at the Grozny Technical College for groups of 30 mine/UXO-affected adolescents. UNICEF also supports a vocational training program in carpentry and joinery run by the People in Need Foundation in Ingushetia, and a program in Chechnya run by the Association for the Disabled. In 2004, 140 vulnerable young people, including mine/UXO survivors, completed their training courses in English, computing, and carpentry and joinery.[95]

In 2004, a vocational training program in sewing for 20 girls with a disability in Grozny was started in cooperation between the Chechen branch of the All-Russian Society of the Disabled and UNICEF. In 2004, about 60 girls received training, including 37 mine survivors.[96]

In November 2004, the Sotrudnichestvo (Collaboration) regional public foundation started its activities in Grozny, aimed at preventing young people from engaging in terrorist activities. A private company donated a five-storey building to the foundation to accommodate families with disabled children.[97]

On 27 April 2005, the head of the Azerbaijan ICRC office met with the Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Azerbaijan Republic to discuss the possibility of disabled Chechen refugees receiving free rehabilitation assistance.[98] Following an official letter from ICRC to the ministry in May 2005, it was agreed that Chechen mine survivors would receive free assistance in rehabilitation centers in Azerbaijan. During May, eight people from Salam Chechen Invalids’ Organization underwent medical examinations at Baku Prosthetic and Orthopedic Rehabilitation Center.[99]

A Chechen participated in the Raising the Voices training program in Geneva in February 2004, and in the First Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in November-December 2004 in Nairobi.

Disability Policy and Practice

The Federal Fund of Obligatory Medical Insurance and a Russian Federation Ministry of Health decree are intended to ensure that medical care for the Chechen population is available in other republics. Small pensions are available for persons with disabilities; however, the pensions are reportedly inadequate to cover the basic costs of living.[100]

[1] Interviews with Kh. Israpilov, Commander-in Chief, Armed Forces of the Chechen Republic Ichkeria, Grozny, 2-3 January 2000.

[2] Letter from Lyoma Usamov, US Representative of the Chechen Republic Ichkeria, 19 June 2001.

[3] “News of the day: Monday, September 20,” RIA-Novosti (news agency), 20 September 2004, http://full.

[4] Statistical data from the site of the Russian Federation Ministry of Interior, http://eng.mvdrf.ru.

[5] Interview with Col. M. Arsaliev, engineer at the Krasny Molot plant, Grozny, December 1999.

[6] “Russia Admits: Land Mines all over Chechnya,” Agency Caucaues, 10 January 2001.

[7] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 1186-1187 for more details.

[8] Interview with members of the delegation of the Russian Federation to the eleventh meeting of the CCW Group of Government Experts, Geneva, 8 August 2005.

[9] Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1187.

[10] Memorial Human Rights Center, “Issue Paper: Violence Against Residents of Zumsoi Continues; Memorial calls for investigation,” Nazran, July 2005.

[11] “Secret Storage with Weapons has been found out in Chechnya,” Cry.Ru (information agency), 22 February and 18 April 2005; “The Mean Weapon of War,” Chechen Society (newspaper), No. 9 (23), 5 May 2004. See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 1187-1188 for more details.

[12] “Hundreds of persons injured by landmines blasts in Chechnya over years,” Itar-Tass (Moscow), 26 April 2005.

[13] See for example, “MoD convoy hit by fougasse in Chechnya,” RIA-Novosti (news agency), 14 July 2004, http://rian.ru/defense_safety/20040714/633046.html.

[14] “Two servicemen hit by blast in Chechnya,” RIA-Novosti, 5 August 2004, http://rian.ru/incidents/20040805/647475.html.

[15] “A conscript wounded in Grozny by mine explosion,” RIA-Novosti, 25 January 2005, http://full.rian.ru/incidents/20050125/4447163.html; “Russian sapper killed on land mine in Chechen capital,” Daymohk (news agency), 3 November 2004; “Two military men were wounded when their BTR was hit by blast in Grozny,” RIA-Novosti (news agency), 3 July 2004, http://rian.ru/incidents/20040703/625510.html.

[16] See report on Russian Federation in this edition of the Landmine Monitor.

[17] Sharon LaFraniere, “Chechnya’s Children Fall Prey to Mines,” Washington Post, 20 October 2002.

[18] Aleksei Bodrov, Vyacheslav Smirnov, “New Terrorist Acts in Chechnya,” TVT (television channel), 12 September 2000; Yuri Safronov, “Three children died attempting to plant landmine in Chechnya,” ITAR-TASS, 22 September 2003; “In Chechnya militants commit act of sabotage against civilians,” RIA-Novosti, 20 November 2003.

[19] “A blast in Grozny hurt no one,” RIA-Novosti, 13 June 2005,


[20] “Two blasts went out next to mosque,” Podrobnosti (information agency) citing Lenta.Ru (news agency), 24 July 2004, http://www.podrobnosti.com.ua/accidents/2004/07/24/135309.html.

[21] “Two rebels accidentally killed by IED which they planted next to school,” RIA-Novosti, 11 August 2004, http://rian.ru/incidents/20040811/651067.html.

[22] “A terrorist act against civilian population prevented in Chechnya,” RIA-Novosti, 4 August 2004, http://rian.ru/incidents/20040804/646747.html.

[23] “Rebels mine agricultural lands in Chechnya,” RIA-Novosti, 2 March 2005,

[24] “Excerpts: Basayev claims Beslan,” BBC News, 17 September 2004.

[25] Report of the General Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov to President Vladimir Putin, cited by Interfax (news agency) and Rossiyskaya Gazeta (daily newspaper), 9 September 2004; Interfax interview with Valeriy Federov, 14 March 2005.

[26] UNICEF, “Landmines and UXO in Chechnya,” March 2005.

[27] “Mine harvest,” Chechen Society (newspaper), No. 10 (48), 24 May 2005.

[28] UNICEF, “Landmines and UXO in Chechnya,” March 2005.

[29] DDG, “Annual Report 2004.”

[30] “‘Practically’ No Minefields Left in Chechnya,” ITAR-TASS, 14 October 2003.

[31] “Mine has been Discovered in the Capital of Chechnya,” YUFO.RU (information agency), 23 April 2005.

[32] UNICEF, “Landmines and UXO in Chechnya,” March 2005.

[33] ICRC, “Mine Action Annual Report 2004,” Geneva, 2005.

[34] Government of Chechnya and EMERCOM of Chechnya, “Landmines and UXO in Chechnya,” March 2005.

[35] “Landmines and UXO in Chechnya,” UNICEF, March 2005; email from Aida Ailarova, Assistant Project Officer Mine Action, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005.

[36] “Mine harvest,” Chechen Society (newspaper), No. 10 (48), 24 May 2005.

[37] UNICEF, “Humanitarian Program in the North Caucasus,” Activity Report No. 94, February 2005.

[38] Email from Aida Ailarova, Assistant Project Officer, Mine Action, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005.

[39] Email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005.

[40] Email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005.

[41] UNICEF, “Activity Report,” No. 96, April 2005, p. 2.

[42] Email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005.

[43] UNICEF, “Activity Report,” Nos. 93, 94, 95, 96, January-April 2005.

[44] UNICEF, “Activity Report,” No. 96, April 2005, p. 2. WFP – World Food Programme; WHO – World Health Organization; UNHCR – UN High Commissioner for Refugees; UNDP – UN Development Programme; FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization; ACF – Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger).

[45] ICRC, “Special Report Mine Action 2004,” June 2005, p. 34.

[46] ICRC, “Special Report Mine Action 2004,” June 2005, p. 34.

[47] ICRC “ICRC Annual Report 2004,” June 2005, p. 223.

[48] Danish Demining Group (DDG), “Annual Report 2004,” p. 3.

[49] DDG, “Annual Report 2004,” p. 3.

[50] DDG, “Annual Report 2004,” p. 3.

[51] DDG, “Annual Report 2004,” p. 5.

[52] DDG, “Annual Report 2004,” p. 7.

[53] Danish Refugee Council, “MRE Program in Chechnya,” January-April 2005.

[54] Email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005.

[55] UNICEF, “Activity Report,” No. 94, February 2005, p. 3.

[56] UNICEF, “Activity Report,” No. 95, March 2005, p. 3.

[57] UNICEF, “Humanitarian Assistance in the Northern Caucasus Situation Report No. 84,” 31 March 2004; email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005.

[58] UNICEF, “Activity Report,” No. 93, January 2005, p. 3.

[59] Email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005. UNICEF has not reported its recommendations.

[60] Mine Action Investments database; emails from Elvan Isikozlu, Mine Action Team, Foreign Affairs Canada, June-August 2005. Average exchange rate for 2004: US$1 = C$1.3017. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 3 January 2005. Canada funding earmarked ‘Russian Federation’ is assumed to be for Chechnya and surrounding regions.

[61] EC, “Contribution to the Landmine Monitor 2005,” by email from Nicola Marcel, RELEX Unit 3a Security Policy, EC, 19 July 2005.

[62] Mine Action Investments database; email from Teemu Sepponen, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13 July 2005.

[63] Article 7 Report, Form J, 15 April 2005; email from Dirk Roland Haupt, Federal Foreign Office, Division 241, 25 July 2005; UNICEF, “Northern Caucasus donor update,” 25 May 2004; email from Eliza Murtazaeva, Program Assistant, UNICEF, 7 October 2004.

[64] UNICEF, “Northern Caucasus donor update,” 25 November 2004.

[65] Landmine Monitor Report 2004 reported UNICEF funding of $4.4 million in 2004. The mine action component of the emergency program received $625,000 by November 2003. UNICEF, “Northern Caucasus Donor Update 13 Nov 2003,” 13 November 2003.

[66] Telephone interview with Zukhra Harkimova, Head of Statistics Department, Ministry of Health, 3 June 2005; interview with Shamsuddin Elmurzayev, Deputy Head, Chechen NGO Salam, Baku, Azerbaijan, 28 March 2005.

[67] ICRC, “Annual Report 2004,” Geneva, June 2005, p. 223.

[68] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 18 August 2005.

[69] Data collated by Landmine Monitor from 87 media reports between 29 January and 23 December 2004. Media reports often listed several people killed or injured without giving a specific number. It was often not possible to differentiate between incidents caused by landmines and IEDs.

[70] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 18 August 2005.

[71] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 18 August 2005; UNICEF, “Humanitarian Assistance in the Northern Caucasus Activity Report No. 98,” 1-30 June 2005; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1194.

[72] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 18 August 2005.  The database is continually being updated as both new and less recent mine incidents are identified.

[73] “Thousands of Chechnya’s peaceful residents, invalids of war, are left to the mercy of fate: Peaceful residents still turn victims of the mine explosion war,” WPS: Defense & Security, 22 August 2005.

[74] For more information see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 1195-1196; see also ICRC, “Annual Report 2004,” Geneva, June 2005, p. 223.

[75] “Interregional Charitable Public Assistance Fund ‘Garantiya’ [Guarantee] for social support and defense of citizens held the charitable action in Chechen Republic,” Chechnya Free, 7 February 2005, available in Russian at www.chechnyafree.ru/index.html?lng=rus&section=healthrus&row=12.

[76] WHO, “Health Action in the North Caucasus,” Newsletter, December 2004-January 2005, p. 6.

[77] For more information on these organizations, see WHO, “Health Sector Field Directory: Republics of Chechnya and Ingushetia, Russian Federation,” Nazran, June 2004.

[78] UNOCHA, “Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP): Chechnya, Northern Caucasus – Russian Federation 2005,” p. 46, www.ocha.ru, accessed 4 August 2005.

[79] DDG, “Annual Report 2004,” p. 6.

[80] ICRC, “Annual Report 2004,” Geneva, June 2005, p. 223.

[81] ICRC, “Gudermes hospital reopens following major repairs,” ICRC News, 04/85, 13 July 2004.

[82] “Central hospital in Grozny will be restored,” Chechnya Free, 1 February 2005, available in Russian at www.chechnyafree.ru/index.html?lng=rus&section=healthrus&row=13.

[83] “The Republican Hospital for World War Two Veterans Opens Its Services,” Chechnya Free, 9 May 2005, www.chechnyafree.ru/index.html?lng=eng&section=victoryeng&row=1.

[84] ICRC Special Report, “Mine Action 2004,” June 2005, p. 34.

[85] Dmitry Larchenko, “Children, Mines, Prosthesis, Northern Caucasus,” Meditsinskiye novosti (Russian language journal), 22 October 2004, available in Russian at www.mednovosti.ru/articles/2004/10/22/icrc/.

[86] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 18 August 2005; email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005; WHO, “Health Action in the North Caucasus,” Newsletter, July-September 2004, p. 6; UNOCHA, “Mine Action,” 1 March 2004, www.ocha.ru. See also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, pp. 1196-1197.

[87] UNICEF, “Landmines and UXO in Chechnya,” March 2005.

[88] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Arnaud Quemin, North Caucasus Coordinator, HI, 15 August 2005; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1197.

[89] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1197.

[90] Email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005; for more information, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1197.

[91] Telephone interview with Zarema Sadulaeva, Head of LSG, 26 August 2005.

[92] UNICEF, “Humanitarian Assistance in the Northern Caucasus Activity Report No. 94,” 1-28 February 2005.

[93] Email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005; UNICEF, “Humanitarian Assistance in the Northern Caucasus Activity Report No. 93,” 1 December 2004 -31 January 2005; UNICEF, “Humanitarian Assistance in the Northern Caucasus Activity Report No. 96,” 30 April 2005; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1197.

[94] ICRC, “Annual Report 2004,” Geneva, June 2005, p. 223; see also ICRC, “Landmine Café opens in Grozny,” ICRC News, 04/18, 17 February 2004.

[95] Email from Aida Ailarova, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 28 April 2005; see also Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1198.

[96] Email from Eliza Murtazaeva, UNICEF Northern Caucasus, 18 August 2005; UNICEF, “Humanitarian Assistance in the Northern Caucasus Situation Report No. 87,” 1 June-2 July 2004.

[97] “Fund ‘collaboration’ works on the revival of Chechnya,” Chechnya Free, 9 November 2004, available in Russian at www.chechnyafree.ru/index.html?section=sorgrus&rowid=19425.

[98] Interview with Tahir Budagov, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Azerbaijan Republic, by Landmine Monitor researchers (Azerbaijan and Chechnya) and Victim Assistance Research Coordinator, Baku, 28 April 2005.

[99] Telephone interview with Imran Agayev, ICRC, Azerbaijan, 3 June 2005.

[100] For more details, see Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1198.