FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 5

Date: Tue, 03 Feb 98 10:53:59 -0500
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Subject: FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 5

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FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 5

FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 5
2 February 1998
The Forced Migration Projects presented their latest special report on
January 23 at the Moscow office of UNHCR. The 47-page report, entitled
Coping with Conflict: A Guide to the Work of Local NGOs in the North
Caucasus, comprises two parts, the first being a scholarly analysis prepared
by Emil Payin of the Center for Ethno-Political and Regional Studies in
Moscow and Russian presidential advisor on interethnic issues. The second
part contains information gathered on a mission of inquiry by Andre
Kamenshikov of Non-Violence International-NIS. Representatives from twenty-
seven government ministries, international organizations, NGOs, and the
media attended the presentation, including representatives from the
embassies of Norway, Denmark, Canada and the United Kingdom. Speakers
included Kamenshikov and Payin as well as deputy Minister for Nationalities,
Kim Tsagolov, UNHCR Regional Representative, Victor Andreev, and Mikhail
Arutyunov a former member of the Duma. The report provides background on
four regions that have witnessed conflict and social upheaval following the
1991 Soviet collapse: Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia.
Chapters provide practical advice for international NGOs on orientation,
avoiding unnecessary risks and how to go about making contact with potential
local NGO partners. The report also contains an annotated contact list
concerning selected NGOs in Chechnya, Dagestan and the Ingush republic.
Copies of the report are available free of charge upon request.
Local nongovernmental organizations (NGO) are capable of playing a greater
role in the international community's follow-up to the 1996 CIS conference
on migration-related issues, said Forced Migration Projects Director Arthur
C. Helton. "There is a special role for NGOs, not only the local which are
only beginning to work on these (migration-related) questions, but also
international NGOs which have the responsibility to work in partnership with
their local counterparts in order to ensure the development of a strong and
vibrant civil society," Helton said. He made the comments in an interview
published, both in Russian and in English, in the Russian journal VIP (issue
#32-33 of 1997), "an international journal about leaders for leaders." In a
wide-ranging discussion about current migration trends in the former Soviet
Union, Helton said that although the professionalism of CIS governments is
improving, durable solutions that ease hardships faced by millions of forced
migrants will remain elusive without a greater commitment by the
international community. "This is such a big an complicated problem that it
can be taken on only by a cooperative effort," Helton said. He also urged
the international community to address hardships faced by internally
displaced persons. "There should be some form of international assistance,"
he said. "However, at the moment, there is no international framework to
deal with the question." 
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is focusing its
programs in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula on preventing statelessness among
formerly deported peoples, primarily Crimean Tatars. UNHCR's action plan,
which is part of the follow-up to the 1996 CIS Conference on migration-
related issues, is outlined in a social assessment of Crimean conditions,
published in November 1997. UNHCR and representatives from other
international organizations are working with Ukrainian authorities to ease
naturalization procedures for formerly deported peoples. About 260,000 of
the 500,000-strong Tatar community have repatriated to Crimea in recent
years, amidst the collapse of the Soviet system. Tens of thousands of Tatars
do not have citizenship, according to UNHCR and other estimates. The lack of
citizenship limits employment opportunities and the ability to travel freely
. Among the obstacles to obtaining citizenship identified by UNHCR are high
administrative costs and a "confusing bureaucratic process." UNHCR estimates
that the fees for naturalization is beyond the reach of many Tatars, costing
an estimated $147, which, for the average Tatar can be as much as several
months' wages. UNHCR, which is working with the Tatar leadership, wants to
develop new information dissemination strategies to promote naturalization.
In other programs, UNHCR will work to promote improve economic and social
infrastructure, as well as promote the revival of formerly deported peoples'
(For additional information consult the Forced Migration Projects' special
report Crimean Tatars: Repatriation and Conflict Prevention. Also consult FM
Alert of November 20, 1997).
For more information contact:
Forced Migration Projects
Open Society Institute
400 West 59th Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10019
tel: (212) 548-0655
fax: (212) 548-4676
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