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Posts published in “News and Press Release”

Sudan: Sudan: Food Assistance Fact Sheet – Updated June 25, 2019

Source: US Agency for International Development
Country: Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, United States of America

Continued political instability, increased food prices, and declining economic conditions are driving food insecurity in Sudan, where 5.8 m...

Kenya: Kenyans Warm to Refugees After Benefiting from Them

Source: Voice of America
Country: Kenya, South Sudan

By Ruud Elmendorp
June 26, 2019 09:36 AM

KAKUMA, KENYA - Like many places hosting refugees, the town of Kakuma in northwestern Kenya saw tensions rise when people fleeing war and lack of basic services flooded in from South Sudan. The new arrivals are staying in a U.N. refugee camp that is already above capacity, causing challenges, but there is also hope and cooperation.

To ease the tensions, the UNHCR invited the local ethnic Turkana community to open businesses in the camp, so they can benefit from the refugees’ presence.

Antagonism grew because the refugees get free schools and hospital care. This strife can turn against the camp’s most vulnerable residents, the women.

Sitani Elamo, 42, lives with her family in a home with clay walls and plastic sheets. She supports them by doing beadwork. Life is not bad she says, but she doesn’t feel safe.

She says that when she goes outside to collect firewood, the Turkana chase her. When there is no firewood she stays close to home and takes the little she can find.

The UNHCR received 7,000 refugees from South Sudan at this site last year, and the number of new arrivals for 2019 has already surpassed the 2018 figure.

“Until the situation is stabilized, the services are again provided, the schools are open, the hospitals are equipped with drugs and equipment they require, we will not be in the position to see a strong return," said Tayyar Sukru Cansizoglu, who heads the UNHCR in Kenya. Cansizoglu says many people here are fleeing South Sudan because of its lack of services after the civil war.

Clothes, vegetables and plastics are sold in the market of the Kakuma camp. The arrival of refugees turned Kakuma into a remote city of 180,000 people. There are some 40,000 tents and shelters around the site, and as women light charcoal fires, children run around and play.

Logosa Akaran is Turkana, and sells maize flour, bread and oil from his shop inside the camp. He says he is happy to be here.

He says that sometimes there are issues when Turkana and South Sudanese insult each other but those are minor issues. Logosa says he lives peacefully and even sleeps here with no problems.

Helping the communities to benefit from each other is key to easing tensions, says the UNHCR's Cansizoglu.

“They say they are very happy to have the refugees because thanks to them they have jobs and food at home,” he said.

Most of the refugees hope that one day they will be able to return to South Sudan. For now, they are settling in.

Sitanim the South Sudanese refugee, recently purchased bricks and cement. The materials are being used to upgrade her family’s shelter.

World: Atrocity Alert No. 160: Mali, Yemen, World Refugee Day and the UN Formal Debate on R2P

Source: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Country: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

Cycle of inter-communal violence in Mali intensifies

At least 41 civilians were killed in attacks on the villages of Yoro and Gangafani 2 in the Mopti region of Mali on Monday, 17 June. According to reports, 100 armed men attacked the villages and began shooting civilians, targeting individuals from the ethnic Dogon community. There were also reports that armed men stopped civilian vehicles on nearby roads, separating out Dogon villagers and executing them. At the time of publication, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Violence continues to increase in central Mali, particularly between the Dogon and Fulani communities. Despite a history of inter-communal tensions over access to land, water and grazing rights, the inability of the government to provide security – combined with the proliferation of small arms over recent years – has led to the rise of armed “self-defense groups.” At least 190 people, including dozens of children, were killed in two massacres during March and early June, with many smaller attacks also targeting civilians from one ethnic community or the other.

In a joint statement the UN Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, and the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, said they were “extremely alarmed by the ethnically motivated attacks against civilians in central Mali” and called “on the authorities and all parties involved, including the international community, to fulfill their responsibility to prevent atrocity crimes and protect civilians.”

The Malian government, with the support of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA), must immediately investigate the attacks on Yoro and Gangafani 2 and ensure that those responsible for inciting, directing and perpetrating the attack are held accountable. When the Security Council considers the renewal of MINUSMA’s mandate later this week, members should prioritize civilian protection, and the need for ongoing efforts to prevent further identity-based violence. MINUSMA should support the government’s efforts to disarm armed groups and promote inter-communal dialogue.

UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia halted due to atrocities in Yemen

On 20 June the Court of Appeal in London ruled that the government of the United Kingdom had failed to adequately assess the actions of the Saudi/United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led military coalition in Yemen prior to issuing licenses for arms exports to Saudi Arabia. According to standards agreed upon by all European Union member states, governments should not license arms exports when there is a clear risk that weapons may be used to perpetrate violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The court ruled that “the government made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of [IHL] in the past, during the Yemen conflict, and made no attempt to do so.”

Following the ruling the UK government suspended new arms sales to Saudi Arabia until an appropriate assessment is conducted. Several other European countries, including Austria, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Norway, have already halted the sale of heavy weapons to Saudi Arabia. On 20 June the United States Senate voted again to block the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE despite a threatened veto by President Donald Trump.

Since 2015 all parties to the conflict in Yemen have perpetrated grave violations of international human rights law and IHL, possibly amounting to war crimes. Parties to the conflict, including the Saudi/UAE-led coalition, have routinely used indiscriminate weapons on civilian-populated areas and targeted civilian infrastructure, such as schools and medical facilities, during airstrikes. According to data reported by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) on 18 June, since 2015 more than 91,000 people have been killed in Yemen, including an estimated 11,700 fatalities resulting from “direct targeting of civilians.” The Saudi/UAE-led coalition is responsible for more than two thirds of all civilian casualties.

In keeping with the Arms Trade Treaty, all UN member states should immediately halt the sale of weapons to parties to the conflict who routinely violate IHL, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Record 70.8 million people displaced by conflict, persecution and atrocities

Last Wednesday, 19 June, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) released its annual “Global Trends” report in advance of World Refugee Day. According to the report, as of December 2018 more than 70.8 million people were displaced by conflict, persecution and human rights violations around the world. This number reflects a 2.3 million increase since 2017 and is the highest ever recorded in the organization’s almost 70-year history.

The number of people forcibly displaced worldwide includes 25.9 million refugees, half of whom are children below the age of 18. Demonstrating the dire consequences of atrocity crimes, 67 percent of refugees came from five countries where war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide have recently occurred: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia. For example, the civil war in Syria, now in its ninth year, is responsible for 6.7 million refugees and 6.2 million internally displaced persons. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has documented widespread and systematic war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by parties to the conflict.

Among the top ten countries where more than 41.3 million people are internally displaced, eight have recently experienced atrocity crimes, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Yemen and South Sudan. The report also highlighted the plight of Venezuelan asylum seekers, who continue to flee the ongoing economic, humanitarian and human rights crisis in that country.

The dramatic increase in forcibly displaced people over the past two decades is not just a reflection of the expansion of conflicts where perpetrators are targeting civilians, but also of the longevity of crises preventing displaced populations from returning home. As noted by the head of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, “we are seeing a tragic retreat from diplomacy that should be addressing the root causes of conflict and displacement, whether in Libya or Yemen, Venezuela or Syria. Instead of pursuing accountability for war crimes and investing in peace-building, we are trapped in an age of impunity that is placing civilians, as well as humanitarians, in the crossfire, and driving thousands from their homes every day.”

UN General Assembly to hold plenary meeting on R2P

Tomorrow, 27 June, the UN General Assembly will hold a plenary meeting on “The Responsibility to Protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” as part of the formal agenda of its 73rd Session. The Global Centre encourages all member states to participate in tomorrow's debate.

The plenary meeting will start at 10:00 AM in the General Assembly Hall and will be webcast on UN webtv. For more information follow @GCR2P on Twitter.

Kenya: Mandera residents to be vaccinated against meningitis

Source: Kenya Daily Nation
Country: Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda
By MANASE OTSIALO

At least 700,000 residents of Mandera County aged between one and 29 years will be vaccinated against meningitis in the next nine days.

This was said by the County Chief...

Uganda: Why women refugees must be involved in the decisions that affect their lives

Source: Oxfam
Country: South Sudan, Uganda

My name is Susan Grace Duku. I am 33 years old and I have spent 21 of those years as refugee.

Last week we learned that the number of people in situations like mine - forced from their homes because of violence or persecution – has passed 70 million worldwide. In responding to this unprecedented challenge, it is paramount that refugees ourselves participate in the decisions that directly affect us and in efforts to find solutions.

Refugees are often victims of the conflicts they flee from. They also face challenges leaving their home countries, finding asylum in a new place, and in living alongside host communities.

Here in Uganda, many have sought refuge in the country for the second or even third time due to repeated conflicts in their home countries, including my native South Sudan. I first came here in 1992, when I was only seven years old. I came again in 2016.

Being repeatedly uprooted and seeking protection has given us years of experience in how to live harmoniously with host communities, how to find creative ways to make ends meet and how to support each other. The pain and sorrow we have endured also drive our commitment to peace - the most durable solution.

Global Refugee Forum

In December, world leaders will come together at the Global Refugee Forum and commit to concrete steps to improve the lives of refugees.

If I had the chance to address those delegates, I would urge them to ensure that refugee girls are able to realise their full potential.

I would use the example of the prominent women delegates in the room and ask whether these women would be seated among us if they had not been supported through education, reproductive health services and other related support.

I would advocate for peace and for governments to embrace tolerance, accountability and reconciliation to prevent conflicts that result in refugee situations.

I would ask them to support refugees to be agents of peace.

Refugees must be able to contribute to decision-making

But refugees should not only participate in international discussions – they should also contribute to decision-making at the local level.

In Uganda, refugees have platforms through which they can express their challenges and ideas. They democratically elect members of community leadership committees, who raise their voices about any recommendations or grievances. There is also a forum of refugees that engages in debates with the Government. I have set up an organization, called Refugee Women and Youth Aid, that brings together 17 groups of women to share knowledge, skills and experience.

There are lessons here for other countries, but there are also challenges. It is still too rare for refugees to address leaders at the highest levels, who are in a position to change our lives.

As a woman refugee leader, I have often been left out of important meetings within the settlement. The male folk still hold women in low esteem due to long-standing cultural beliefs that discriminate against women. Because of such patriarchal beliefs, refugee women and girls need extra support to effectively participate in the design, implementation and review of refugee programs.

Refugees need education and job opportunities

As a leader, I call on the Ugandan Government and its humanitarian partners to prioritize proper education at all levels for refugees.

Having large numbers of displaced young people frustrated or bored because they can’t go to school is a recipe for continued conflict, violence and under development.

Refugees also yearn for work opportunities so they can supplement humanitarian aid and sustain themselves. Some women are forced to trek large distances to find safe water, firewood and construction materials, and sometimes there are conflicts with host communities over these resources. These problems could be solved through tree planting and proper use of natural resources such as land for agriculture and alternative sources of fuel like briquettes.

There should be more initiatives to bring refugees and host communities together, to help reduce tensions and suspicions that can trigger violence.

Women must be included

None of these challenges can be solved without the active participation of refugee, including women.

We refugees are not responsible for our displacement. We did not choose to become refugees and we face many difficulties.

We need to be included in spaces where our voices can be heard, and we must be equally represented in decision-making processes.

This entry posted on 24 June 2019, by Susan Grace Duku, who is head of our partner agency Refugee Women and Youth Aid in Uganda, and is a refugee. She writes about the importance of refugees participating in decisions that affect their lives - one of Oxfam's key asks ahead of the Global Refugee Forum in December.

Top photo: Cousins Betty and Florence with their children at the reception center at the Imvepu refugee settlement, Uganda. Credit: Coco McCabe/Oxfam

Refugees from South Sudan have been fleeing conflict and hunger in their country, and seeking safety across the border in Uganda. Currently, Uganda is hosting more than 1 million refugees - 82 percent are women and children. Across four districts in settlements like Imvepi and Bidi Bidi, Oxfam and our local partners have reached more than 283,000 refugees with assistance that includes the provision of clean water, sanitation services such as the digging of pit latrines, hygiene promotion, emergency food and livelihoods support, and attention to gender and protection issues. In the last four years, Oxfam has also invested in helping more than 15 local and national organizations build their capacity to respond to humanitarian emergencies such as this one.

World: We Must Consider the Full Spectrum of Durable Solutions to Effectively Address Needs of Displaced

Source: International Committee of the Red Cross
Country: Ethiopia, Mali, South Sudan, World

Briefing to UN Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on “Responding effectively to the needs of refugees, displaced persons and returnees: The role of the United Nations Security Council and its Members”

As delivered by ICRC Vice President Mr. Gilles Carbonnier

Thank you very much Mr. Chairman, and good morning from Geneva.

Mr. Chairman, I wish to thank you, and all of the co-organizers, the Ambassadors of South Africa and Cote D'Ivoire, for this opportunity to address today's Arria Formula Meeting on the critical issue of displacement. This is a timely debate given the sheer numbers of displaced people across the globe: we heard Filippo Grandi, and previous speakers including yourself Mr. Chairman, providing us with staggering figures that speak for themselves. It means that one in every hundred children, women and men across the globe is displaced today as a result of armed conflict, armed violence, persecution or human rights violations. This is also a timely debate as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the OAU Refugee Convention, and the tenth anniversary of the Kampala Convention.

Daily, in Africa and beyond, the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross witness the humanitarian consequences of displacement and what it means for the individuals behind the huge numbers we have heard. We at the ICRC are convinced that the Kampala Convention offers an important guide for African States to address internal displacement. And we urge all States across the Continent to ratify and implement the Kampala Convention.

Today, displacement is becoming ever more protracted which, at times, contributes to further instability and further conflict. In this context, I want to frame my remarks along the African Union's theme of the year: What can be done for Refugees, Returnees and IDPs: Towards Durable Solutions?

Mr. Chairman, let me highlight four ways in which the UN Security Council, the African Union, and States can create conditions for durable solutions:

First, it is critical to prevent violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Respect for IHL and human rights can indeed greatly limit the humanitarian consequences of armed conflict and violence. It can thus prevent displacement from happening in the first place.

And for those who have been displaced, conditions for durable solutions require basic infrastructure to be restored and protected. It requires creating livelihood opportunities, which in turn depends on civilians and their assets being protected.

Second, durable solutions rest on the displaced being entitled to free and informed choice – or voluntariness. States have the primary duty and responsibility to provide durable solutions. They must establish conditions, as well as provide the means, for the displaced to build on durable solutions when returning home, or integrating in the location where they have been displaced, or resettling elsewhere.

Many IDPs and refugees prefer to return. States too often tend to see return as a solution, which can convey a sense of normalcy. However, there is no hierarchy among the different types of durable solutions. Individuals must be able to determine, in light of their specific circumstance, what they can pursue. In some instances, local integration or resettlement may offer a better durable solution than return. Local integration or resettlement can be the best temporary solution, until conditions in the place of origin allow for safe, voluntary and dignified return.

Third, national authorities should seek the effective involvement of IDPs, refugees and host communities in the design and implementation of durable solutions, with the support of humanitarian and development actors. The ICRC already supports national authorities towards durable solutions and is ready to do more.

In South Sudan for instance, last month I could witness how our teams in the field were helping displaced people to reconnect with their dispersed families across South Sudan and beyond and discuss collectively how the evolving situation changes their options, and trying to collectively identify what would be the best durable solutions for them.

Today, in some regions of Ethiopia where displacement has occurred, the ICRC is providing seeds and tools to those who have voluntarily decided to return, so that they can resume planting and growing food.

While assisting displaced people, we also provide cash assistance to allow returnees to restart economic activities upon voluntary return. In parts of Mali for example, we complement such assistance with food ration and basic household items. The overall objective is to help kick-starting durable livelihood recovery. More can be done in partnership with national authorities, private businesses and development finance institutions.

Fourth, it is important to acknowledge that, even after returning back home, displaced people often face specific issues that have to be addressed as a matter of priority. To the extent possible, States must support the recovery of property and possessions left behind upon displacement. Where not possible, national authorities should provide appropriate compensation, or assist returnees in obtaining other forms of just reparation.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Before concluding, I wish to highlight two trends increasingly affecting displaced persons: urbanization and climate change.

Africa is urbanizing fast, and internal displacement is increasingly urban. African capitals like Addis Ababa or Nairobi host large numbers of IDPs and refugees. People flee from rural to urban areas, as witnessed for example in Baidoa, Somalia, and Maiduguri in Nigeria. Cities themselves are theatres of armed conflict and violence.

Through interviews, we have learned that one of the main protection issues in urban areas is the lack of security related to housing and land. Insecurity forces IDPs to move multiple times. This means that they lose the social networks and the access to vital services that they had been able to secure. The ensuing deprivation forces some of them to resort to harmful survival strategies, such as engaging in transactional sex or sending their young children to work. Hence, states must duly consider the socio-economic, political and legal landscape affecting the displaced in urban settings.

Internal displacement is also impacted by climate change. In many regions such as the Sahel or the Horn of Africa, the vulnerabilities of agro-pastoralists and other communities are exacerbated by the combined impact of armed conflicts and climate change. Displacements tend to heighten existing tensions and competition over scarce resources. States need to recognize the double impact of climate risks and conflict, and assist affected communities to adapt to such stresses.

To conclude, Mr. Chairman,

The ICRC commends efforts to put the spotlight on durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa. In this context, we wish to stress three issues:

  1. First, the critical role of IHL in preventing forced displacement, and the crucial role of the African Union and the UN Security Council and its members in this regard;

  2. Second, the need to ensure effective participation of IDPs, refugees and host communities in the co-creation and implementation of durable solutions, with the support of humanitarian and development actors;

  3. And third, let us not forget that displaced people caught in the middle of armed conflict tend to face higher risks of going missing. States must take steps to prevent people from disappearing, search for those missing, and ensure that the specific needs of their families are addressed.

In sum, Mr. Chairman, we have to consider the full spectrum of durable solutions to effectively address the needs of refugees, displaced persons and returnees. The ICRC remains more committed than ever to assist states in this endeavour.

I thank you for your attention.

World: UAE providing sustainable solutions to refugee crisis: Hamdan bin Zayed

Source: Emirates News Agency
Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar, South Sudan, Uganda, World

ABU DHABI, 20th June, 2019 (WAM) -- H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, Chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, has reiterated the paramount importance attached by the UAE to resolving the refugee crisis across the globe.

In remarks marking the World Refugee Day, an international observance on June 20 each year, Sheikh Hamdan said the UAE leadership is following in the footsteps of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan by consistently working on introducing sustainable solutions to the untold suffering experienced by refugees and displaced people in various parts of the world.

He hailed the initiatives launched by H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, to empower refugee women economically and socially through the implementation of developmental programmes that help them survive their suffering and dilemmas and enable them to meet their essential needs.

"The UAE will remain a protective shield for refugees, easing their suffering and maintaining their dignity," Sheikh Hamdan added, emphasising on the colossal efforts made by the UAE to restore stability and security in conflict zones and border areas where refugees and internally displaced people, IDP, are living.

He urged the internationally community to exert more significant efforts to provide refugees with better living conditions, noting that the recent years saw increasing numbers of refugees and IDPs as a result of the eruption of bitter conflicts and crises in a number of countries around the globe that resulted in the alarming illegitimate immigration of hundreds of thousands of peoples.

He called for unifying international and regional efforts to improve refugees' living conditions, citing the myriad humanitarian initiatives launched by the UAE on this score, including, but not limited to, the recent 'UAE for Rohingya Women and Children" charity campaign and the strategic partnership between the Emirates Red Crescent and the UNHCR.

Sheikh Hamdan said the $1 million agreement signed last April between the ERC and the UN Refugee Agency aimed to assist Southern Sudan Refugees so that they can establish themselves in Uganda.

The ERC highlighted the importance of such types of projects to empowering refugees economically and encouraging them to work, develop and benefit from their skills, as well as enabling them to continue living with determination.

The Fund for Refugee Women-funded project will provide opportunities for refugees from Southern Sudan to work productively in agricultural and livestock programmes. The project benefited more than 45,000 refugees, with 60 percent of them being women.

The UNHCR says in a world where violence forces thousands of families to flee for their lives each day, the time is now to show that the global public stands with refugees.

The theme for World Refugee Day 2019 is #StepWithRefugees Take A Step on World Refugee Day and focuses on the need to take big and small steps in solidarity with refugees from around the world.

The event honours the courage and determination of those who have been forced to flee their homes.

A record 70.8 million people fled war, persecution and conflict in 2018, according to UNHCR.

WAM/Hatem Mohamed/Tariq alfaham/Hassan Bashir

World: Water Mission Recognizes World Refugee Day

Source: Water Mission International
Country: South Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World
Water Mission has provided safe water to more than 460,000 refugees to date

N. Charleston, SC – June 20, 2019 – Water Mission, a nonprofit Christian e...

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.

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