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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 14:09 GMT
Foreign NGOs banned near Chechnya
A Russian court has ordered two foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to stop working in Ingushetia, where they were helping Chechen refugees.

The Ingush supreme court argued that the UK charity and a German humanitarian group called Help did not have the necessary authorisation.

The Russian parliament recently passed a law tightening controls on NGOs.

The UK charity concerned was named as the Centre for Peacemaking and Community Development (CPCD).

An inquiry into another NGO, the US-based International Medical Corps, is continuing.

The UK charity has been supporting schools attended by about 1,000 Chechen refugee children and has been helping to distribute UN humanitarian aid.

Ingushetia borders on Chechnya, which has been devastated by years of war between Russian forces and separatist rebels.

Human rights groups and Western politicians have criticised the new Russian law, which gives the state powers to oversee NGO funding and activities.

It sets out stricter registration procedures for foreign and domestic NGOs and gives the state the power to close them down.

The Russian authorities say the legislation is needed to prevent foreign governments and organisations from using NGOs to undermine Russia's security.

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