UN advocate for war-affected children completes trip to North Caucasus

21 June 2002

The senior United Nations official charged with promoting the interests of war-affected children returned to Moscow today, after a four-day trip to the northern Caucasus region to assess first-hand the plight of children caught in the Chechnya conflict.

Yesterday, Olara Otunnu, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, visited a centre in Valdikavkaz, in North Ossetia-Alania province, that rehabilitates children who have lost limbs to mines and unexploded ordnance.

Mr. Otunnu praised the courage of the young victims - some only four years old - who were struggling to come to grips with their new realities, and appealed for donors to support the centre, which is jointly operated by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

During the last day of visit, the Special Representative also met with officials from North Ossetia and neighbouring Ingushetia, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations engaged in humanitarian operations and staff from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.


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