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 Report - ICRC Monthly Bulletin (ICRC)

 Report date: 30.09.2001


In October, the protection team of the Baku delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) made firsts visits to IVSs (isolator for temporary detention) of the Ministry of Interior located in Lenkoran, Masalli, Jalilabad, Bilasuvar, Neftchala and Salyan towns. Visits were also made to 4 IVSs in Baku under the Ministry of Interior, and to Shuvelyan SIZO (pre-trial isolator) and Gobustan prison under the Ministry of Justice, as well as to the SIZO of the Ministry of National Security. The visits were conducted in accordance with ICRC standard procedures, which include private interviews with detainees, and confidential discussions with the detaining authorities regarding the conditions of detention and the treatment of detainees.

On 22 October, an ICRC Book Fund was officially opened at Khazar University in the presence of the University's Rector, Hamlet Isakhanli, and the Head of the ICRC Baku delegation, Friedrun Medert (see photo). The Book Fund is a collection of books on International Humanitarian Law, donated by the ICRC to promote the knowledge and teachings of this body of law. The inauguration of the Book Fund took place in the presence of interested law students, to whom Friedrun Medert gave a presentation of the ICRC's history and of the origins of International Humanitarian Law.

During this month, the Orthopaedic Centre in Baku, operated jointly by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the ICRC, housed 30 patients in its dormitory, and delivered 23 prostheses (among them, 3 amputees were mine victims) and 63 orthoses. 14 patients were supplied with crutches and sticks. A total of 86 patients were consulted at the Centre.

The Ministry of Justice runs a tuberculosis (TB) project within the penitentiary system of Azerbaijan. This program allows for the treatment and follow-up of detainees infected by TB. The ICRC ensures the supply of all necessary anti-TB medicaments to the central treatment facility in Bina district, Baku. In addition to providing technical advice, the ICRC also collaborates with the Ministry to monitor and evaluate the evolution of TB programme. This month, 600 detainee patients were undergoing TB-treatment in accordance with the standard recommended by the World Health Organisation, better known by its acronym DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course).

Throughout the month the ICRC, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, organised a number of regional seminars for methodologists and chiefs of methodological centres in Sabirabad, Lenkoran, Ganja, Shaki and Barda towns. Participants discussed methodical matters related to the teaching of humanitarian values using an ICRC textbook, "We are all rays of the same sun", for 5th form secondary school pupils.

On 11-12 October, the ICRC delegation in Moscow organised the 7th course on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for civil servants from CIS countries. The participants discussed the experiences and attitudes to the revision of several international treaties. From Azerbaijan, the ICRC facilitated the participation of one civil servant of the Milli Majlis.


Overview of current ICRC work

As a result of the partial destruction of the ICRC's aid stocks in Kabul, the organization's ability to respond to the needs of the Afghan people - with winter only a few short weeks away - has been weakened, all the more so as it is difficult to organise humanitarian aid convoys into Afghanistan from neighbouring countries. Since expatriate staff had to leave the country on 16 September, only four ICRC trucks, carrying medical supplies for various hospitals and first-aid centres in Jalalabad and Kabul, have been allowed in. To make matters worse, communications are difficult between the ICRC and its local staff still running operations in Afghanistan.

The ICRC's Afghan employees have been doing their utmost to maintain normal activities under extremely arduous circumstances. In particular, they are supporting hospitals, clinics and first-aid posts throughout the country and distributing food to both patients and staff at hospitals and orphanages in Kabul.

Work also continues in the country's six limb-fitting centres. The latest figures from the centre in Kabul indicate that from 29 September to 10 October, 494 persons underwent physiotherapy and 36 new patients were registered. Some water and sanitation activities, such as work to maintain a percolation field in the grounds of a hospital in Kabul, are being carried on. The distribution of food and shelter material to 5,000 displaced families in Mazar-i-Sharif was completed in the second week of October.

A truck loaded with kits for the treatment of war-wounded people left Peshawar on Tuesday 16 October for Jalalabad in order to replenish supplies in the city. Another two-truck convoy for the hospitals in Kabul left mid-Ocober. In Herat, food stocks continue to be handed over to the World Food Programme for distribution to displaced persons living in nearby camps.

Finally, the ICRC is placing relief stocks and logistical equipment along supply routes running through Pakistan, Tajikistan, Iran and Turkmenistan. In the weeks ahead some 9,500 tonnes of food (including ghee, split peas, rice and wheat grain) will be arriving there. Other items such as blankets (125,000), tarpaulins (36,000), tents (3,000), jerrycans (44,000) and pressure cookers (38,000) are also being shipped to those sites. Medical equipment and supplies are already pre-positioned throughout the region. Apart from two surgical units, the ICRC has in the region enough kits for war-wounded for a further 6,000 victims, first-aid kits for over 2,500 and three-month new emergency health kits for 120,000 people.

ICRC visits detainees in Abkhazia

On 15 October, ICRC delegates visited nine persons arrested during the recent hostilities in the Georgian region of Abkhazia. The detainees, who are being held by the Abkhaz authorities, were visited in accordance with standard ICRC procedures (which include private interviews), and wrote personal messages to their families which will be delivered by the Red Cross. The visits will be repeated in the near future.

The ICRC has had a constant presence in Abkhazia since 1992 and regularly visits detainees. In addition to detainee-welfare work, it provides food aid to the needy and support to medical facilities. Some 6,500 particularly vulnerable individuals receive daily hot meals at 27 centres and seven mobile canteens, while some 12,000 people receive other types of food assistance on a regular basis. Hospitals are assisted with monthly deliveries of surgical supplies.

In the wake of the recent hostilities, the ICRC stands ready - security conditions permitting - to step up food, medical and other aid if required by the situation.

At present, 26 expatriates and over 250 Georgian staff are working in the country, with ICRC offices in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Sukhumi, Gagra and Gali.

For further information please, contact
Tel: 90 63 34, 90 63 35, 90 64 52, 40 62 22 Fax: 90 65 19

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