| GENEVA (Reuters) - Russian human rights group Memorial
has won a U.N. award
for its work helping migrants and displaced Chechens, the United Nations
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers said the Memorial Human
Rights Center had provided legal counseling to more than 21,300 people
year including forced migrants, internally displaced people and asylum
"It has carried out its work in often very difficult situations
including in the North Caucasus -- and has earned the respect of all of
in the international humanitarian community," Lubbers said in a statement
announcing the winner of the annual Nansen Refugee Award.
Russians topped the list of asylum seekers in 2003 as record numbers
Chechens fled insecurity, according to a UNHCR report earlier this year.
Memorial, which emerged during the perestroika period, is one of the
organizations operating in Chechnya.
The award is named after Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian who was the world's
first international refugee official. Laureates since 1954 have included
Eleanor Roosevelt, Mozambique's Graca Machel and Medecins Sans Frontieres
(Doctors Without Borders).
Last year's laureate, Annalena Tonelli, an Italian doctor praised for
humanitarian work in Somalia, was shot and killed outside her hospital
there several months later.