Lidia Grafova, a Moscow journalist, has been active in providing help to forced migrants since the ethnic conflict in Azerbaijan triggered a wave of refugees. She heads the NGO Forum pieriesielienchieskikh organizatsyi (Forum of Migrants' Organizations), cooperating with a wide range of international organizations in the same field. She also directs the news agency Migratsiya, which advocates for migrants' rights by informing the public. She often travels to Chechen refugee camps in the Caucasus and regularly visits Beslan to provide psychological assistance to the victims of terrorism.
In 1990, when the first waves of Armenian refugees–forced to leave Baku (Azerbaijan) after the ethnic clashes–arrived in Moscow, Lidia Grafova successively published articles trying to attract the attention of the authorities to this humanitarian problem. The situation of these homeless people with neither the means to earn a living nor prospects for the future, was constantly growing ever more tragic. Meanwhile, the Soviet government was both grossly inept and absolutely incapable of coping with the refugee problem. Continuing to write about the refugees in the press seemed pointless, yet Lidia could not forget the suffering of these people. So she launched the NGO Grazhdanskaya pomoshch (Civic Aid), the first NGO in Russia whose goal was to help refugees. The NGO closely cooperates with the Russian Red Cross, Caritas Moscow, and other humanitarian organizations. In 1996, the NGO Forum pieriesielienchieskikh organizatsyi (Forum of Migrants' Organizations) was created as an umbrella for more than 200 migrants' associations in 43 regions of Russia. Lidia has headed the Forum since its very beginning. Because of her passionate efforts to help the refugees in Russia, Lidia's friends often refer to her as the Refugees' Mamma. In 2000, Lidia set up the news agency Migratsiya to provide wide news coverage on all aspects of migration and refugee issues. In the course of the past 15 years, she has published some 400 articles in Russian and foreign newspapers defending the cause of migrants. Lidia's tireless work as an organizer of humanitarian aid projects, coupled with her journalistic activities, has greatly contributed to raising awareness of migration issues in Russian society and to the shaping of Russia's migration policy in a compassionate manner.
Forum pieriesielienchieskikh organizatsyi (FPO)