MSF condemns attack on humanitarian relief workers

Amsterdam, 10 January 2001 - MSF strongly condemns the attack on a humanitarian convoy and the capture of an MSF relief worker in Chechnya yesterday. Following this incident, MSF suspended its operations in Chechnya for security reasons. MSF entered Ingushetia at the end of 1999, following the resumption of the Chechen conflict, and began assisting the displaced Chechen population. In February 2000, MSF gained access to Chechnya and initiated medical relief projects for the most vulnerable people. From the beginning of its operations in Chechnya, MSF has always worked with the approval of the civilian and military authorities. MSF does not, however, operate under armed protection as this conflicts with the independent, humanitarian principles of the organisation. MSF supports hospitals, maternity wards and dispensaries throughout Chechnya, providing medical supplies and rehabilitating surgery facilities and patient wards. Besides their activities in Chechnya, MSF is also assisting displaced Chechens in neighbouring countries with food provision medical supplies and shelter. MSF is an international medical organisation, whose goal is to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to victims of war, conflict and disasters. This assistance is given without any political, religious or ethnic discrimination. MSF is independent, and is mainly funded by public donations from the 18 countries where it has representative offices. In 1999, MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Price for its humanitarian work throughout the world.