The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara A. Otunnu, arrived in the Northern Caucasus Tuesday, after meeting officials in Moscow. He visited camps of the internally displaced Chechen people in Ingushetiya and sites of spontaneous settlements. Mr Otunnu talked to the internally displaced children and families and he toured health centres, schools and sports facilities and witnessed cultural activities carried out by the displaced populations.

The Special Representative was also able to observe the humanitarian activities of the United Nations agencies and various non-governmental organizations which are assisting the internally displaced families. Mr. Otunnu was received by Murat Zayzikov, President of the Republic of Ingushetiya, along with A. Korbenikov, First Deputy of General Kazanstev, Presidential Plenipotentiary in Southern Russia.

In the context of his mandate, the Special Representative is in the Russian Federation to promote the protection, rights, and well-being of children affected by war. One of the main objectives of the mission is to assess first-hand and seek to focus attention on the situation of children affected by the conflict in Chechnya.

The Special Representative serves as international advocate for children affected by armed conflict by promoting standards and measures for their protection in times of war, as well as their healing and social reintegration in the aftermath of conflict.

For further information from the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, please contact: Maimouna Mills, Communications Officer, Telephone: (212) 963-9879; Facsimile: (212) 963-0807;

e-mail: millsm@un. org