Reopen Georgian border for Chechen civilians

Press release: December 17, 1999 - Medecins Sans Frontières demands the immediate re-opening of the Georgian border for Chechen civilians deprived of all possibility of escape

Médecins Sans Frontières demands that the border between Chechnya and Georgia be re-opened immediately to allow Chechen civilians to shelter from Russian bombardments. The border has been closed since Monday, depriving civilians caught under fierce bombardments of any possibility of escape. This is the only exit route for the population in southern Chechnya.

The Médecins Sans Frontières teams providing assistance to the refugees report the dramatic situation of civilians fleeing the country. On the road leading to Georgia they are attacked by Russian forces and then blocked at the border in extreme climatic conditions - only to be forced back to zones under massive, indiscriminate bombardment.

Médecins Sans Frontières reiterates its demand addressed to the members of the OSCE that the Russian authorities cease the bombing of civilians and allow them the possibility to safely leave the Republic to seek asylum.

Médecins Sans Frontières also requests the International Community to participate in the assistance to Chechen refugees in Georgia and to find help them find asylum in safe third countries so that the Georgian border be re-opened and that the population have the right to flee.