country:uganda

  • Briefing: How Congo’s Ebola epidemic became the world’s second deadliest

    More than 11 months after an Ebola outbreak was declared in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the viral disease has claimed more than 1,500 lives, infected 2,244 people, and spread across the border into neighbouring Uganda, where two deaths and three suspected cases were reported mid-June. A new confirmed case just 43 miles from South Sudan’s border was reported Monday.


    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2019/07/02/Ebola-outbreak-congo-epidemic-attacks-community
    #ébola #ebola #Congo #épidémie #RDC #république_Démocratique_du_congo #Ouganda
    ping @fil

  • What it means to be a ‘refugee’ in South Sudan and Uganda

    After decades of armed conflict in South Sudan and Uganda, labels of ‘refugee’ and ‘internally displaced person’ fail to reflect the complex realities of the people they refer to. Leben Moro examines the history of movement across the region’s borders, and argues refugees are not the passive recipients of aid as often presented by humanitarian initiatives.

    Since independence from British colonial rule, large numbers of South Sudanese and Ugandans have repeatedly crossed the shared border to escape civil wars. These forced movements of large populations have created shifting labels of ‘refugees’ and ‘internally displaced persons’ (IDPs), with tremendous social, economic and political repercussions for the persons to which these labels are applied.

    In August 1955, months before Sudan’s independence, the largely Christian Southern Sudanese took up arms against Muslim rulers in the North to achieve a vision of greater regional autonomy, which sparked a mass flight of people from their homes. By the end of the First Sudanese Civil War in 1972, the Sudanese government estimated that 500,000 people had hidden in the bush, and another 180,000 had crossed into neighbouring countries, with 74,000 settling in four official camps (Onigo, Agago, Acholpii and Nakapiripirit) in northern Uganda. Many of the displaced persons, including my own family members, self-settled in other parts of Uganda, mainly near cotton ginning mills and other businesses operated by Ugandans of Indian origin, who employed them as casual labourers.

    My own family members settled near Gulu, the largest town in northern Uganda, among the Acholi ethnic group. Some South Sudanese journeyed southwards to Bwelye in the centre of Uganda, where there was plentiful fertile land and jobs in Indian enterprises. Others travelled further south into the heartland of the Baganda, the largest tribe in the country, to work in sugar plantations and different enterprises, including fields where locals grew coffee, bananas and other crops.

    Over time, many newcomers acquired land with their earnings and became poll taxpayers. Their receipt documentation allowed them to move across land in relative safety. In general, however, life was hard as they lacked citizenship and were vulnerable to exploitation and harassment.

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) coordinated a programme of official repatriation, supported by public authorities in Sudan and Uganda, including a mandate that supported Sudan’s IDPs. Many people, however, chose not to leave.

    In 1979, Uganda became embroiled in a bitter civil war following the overthrow of President Idi Amin Dada, forcing Southern Sudanese, including my own family members, and many Ugandans from the north of the country, to flee into the relatively peaceful Southern Sudan. The UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations as well as public authorities in Sudan helped settle many refugees in camps, but some Ugandans settled among local people, initially without external support.

    The relative peace in Southern Sudan was disrupted in 1983 when the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) was founded to lead another armed struggle against Sudan’s newly declared Islamic state under President Gaafar Nimeiry – which came to be known as the Second Sudanese Civil War. The violence forced Ugandan peoples living in Southern Sudan back into Uganda and many Southern Sudanese also made the crossing. Some of the refugees returned to locations they had lived in during the first civil war or joined relatives or friends who had remained in Uganda. People used their established networks.

    The new wave of refugees received generous assistance from the UNHCR and the Ugandan government, whose policy was the settlement of refugees in camps and dedicated areas. Effectively, the policy redefined a refugee as ‘someone receiving assistance and living in a camp’. Many displaced Southern Sudanese avoided encampment, with its associated restrictions of movement, by self-settling among locals or dividing their family members or time between camps and outside locations.

    As in the first civil war, many displaced persons in Southern Sudan did not cross international borders, but remained behind in dire circumstances. Their plight forced the United Nations to launch another initiative, Operation Lifeline Sudan, in the 1980s to assist those trapped in the war zone. This suffering formally ceased in 2005 with the conclusion of the much-lauded Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Sudanese government and the SPLM/A, enabling the return of the IDPs to their original homes and refugees back to the country.

    In 2011, Southern Sudan seceded from Sudan. About two years later, the world’s newest country relapsed into a vicious civil war. Sparked by divisions among the country’s key leaders, ethnic identities were subsequently exploited to mobilise fighters with devastating consequences for national unity and the wellbeing of civilians.

    During the conflict, many Nuer people, an ethnic group primarily inhabiting South Sudan’s Nile Valley, fled into areas created on UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) bases, called Protection of Civilians Sites (PoCs), to escape killing by members of the Dinka, the largest ethnic group, who had effectively taken over the country with the support of Ugandan soldiers. Nuer fighters retaliated against Dinka civilians, forcing many to flee to the Uganda border and other locations.

    Many South Sudanese headed north into the new Republic of Sudan, where public authorities labelled them ’arrivals’, a new term with no precedent in refugee policy or literature, and confined them to ‘waiting stations’. Uganda also received a large number of displaced persons, among them refugees placed in settlements with international assistance. Many displaced persons settled among locals without external assistance, thus avoiding the label of ‘refugee’.

    What it means to be ‘refugees’ in Uganda

    The 1951 Refugee Convention states a person becomes a refugee after crossing an internationally recognised border in search of protection, recognition and status by public authorities in the asylum country or the UNHCR. When the circumstances that forced the person to seek refuge cease to exist, the refugee re-avails themselves of the country’s protection they had fled. Thus defined concrete international borders are characterised as integral to becoming a refugee or ending refuge.

    For South Sudanese displaced persons, the border between their country and Uganda is not a clearly defined line separating two jurisdictions. Many parts of the border are contested by ordinary people and public authorities on both sides. Consequently, people inhabiting locations along these contested areas are not always on peaceful terms despite often belonging to the same ethnic groups, such as the Acholi of South Sudan and Uganda.

    Different ethnic groups that have seen clashes over contested territories have also been forced into settling in areas of close proximity following unrest in their respective homelands. My own research reveals the Kuku of Kajokeji in South Sudan were so suspicious of the Madi in the Ugandan Moyo district that, when they settled in the latter’s region, they avoided treatment in the Moyo hospital for fear of maltreatment by Madi medical personnel. The history of conflict over certain borders has a direct bearing on the welfare of refugees in the present.

    Armed groups and criminals also operate along the border, posing serious security problems, with some people losing their lives at the hands of unknown gunmen. Despite this danger, refugees and other South Sudanese cross in and out of South Sudan for matters of family and livelihoods, such as to harvest crops in their old fields due to food shortages in their new home. Others return their deceased kin to bury them decently on their old compounds and, further, trips are made to the national capital, Juba, to visit relatives or deal with administrative issues.

    These movements defy the legal meaning of ‘refugee’, who is supposed to return home when the threat of persecution that caused the flight is over. They demonstrate that refugees are not the passive and docile recipients of aid, as often presented, but active individuals who exercise agency. Studies remind us that were refugees only to eat the ‘food which is distributed to them, they would die’.

    What it means to stay behind as an IDP

    Because IDPs are citizens living in their native county they are entitled to the same rights and legal protections as fellow citizens as stipulated by the constitution. In reality, IDPs do not always enjoy citizenship rights because those in power consider them enemies or supporters of enemies.

    During the second civil war, the Sudanese government branded IDPs as rebel supporters and subjected them to all kinds of punitive measures, including starvation and denial of basic services. Many IDPs consequently starved to death or died due to deadly diseases, such as kala azar, as the already rudimentary healthcare system in pre-war Southern Sudan was destroyed by repeated military bombardments as well as frequent obstructions of international humanitarian access.

    When South Sudan gained independence and descended into civil war, IDPs did not fare any better. Following shocking atrocities and the continued risk of further violence, many Nuer civilians remain in PoCs on UNMISS bases under the protection of peacekeepers in refugee-like situations. Deprived of state protection, their situation has become worse than most refugees in South Sudan, deprioritised over the dominant Dinka.

    The labels of ‘refugee’ and ‘internally displaced person’ do not reflect the experiences of most South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, and IDPs within South Sudan. These terms present refugees and IDPs as powerless recipients of aid when, in reality, refugees and IDPs are active agents in efforts to improve their situation. In some cases, they creatively manipulate borders and the systems in place to satisfy their basic needs.

    It has been expressed that South Sudanese refugees have shown an extraordinary creativity and resourcefulness that can form a blueprint for future refugee assistance programmes. When ‘official legal categories rarely match realities on the ground’, aid workers should now appreciate and encourage the active involvement of refugees and IDPs to address the challenges that confront them.

    https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/africaatlse/2019/05/28/what-it-means-to-be-a-refugee-in-south-sudan-and-uganda
    #réfugiés #IDPs #déplacés_internes #Soudan_du_Sud #Ouganda #histoire #histoire

  • Swiss scientists get water gushing in Uganda

    In a refugee camp, one of the first challenges is usually water. But a Swiss project has helped one camp to find more.

    The Geneva-based United Nations refugee agency has an obligation to provide enough water, and it often has to spend a lot of money trucking it in from elsewhere. But at #Bidi_Bidi camp in northern Uganda, a Swiss method has helped quadruple the water supply by finding more productive wells. So how does it work, and can it be applied elsewhere?


    https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/podcast_swiss-scientists-get-water-gushing-in-uganda/44853646
    #eau #camps_de_réfugiés #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Ouganda #eau_potable

    • La réponse du HCR:
      UNHCR strongly rejects widespread allegations against workforce

      The following is UNHCR’s response to media following widespread allegations made against its workforce in a recent NBC press article.

      UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, strongly rejects the widespread allegations against its workforce in a recent press article, which risks jeopardizing the future of refugees in dire need of resettlement.

      UNHCR is one of the biggest and most operational UN agencies, working in 138 countries and serving 68.5 million people. The overwhelmingly majority of our 16,000 personnel are deeply committed professionals, many of whom are working in difficult environments, sometimes risking their own safety.

      As with other organizations, we are not immune to risk or failure on the part of individuals. This is why we have a solid safeguarding structure, which has been further strengthened in the last two years, and which we continuously seek to improve.

      We are fully committed to ensuring the integrity of our programmes. Our workforce is also systematically reminded of the obligation to abide by the highest standards of conduct and to make sure that all their actions are free of any consideration of personal gain.

      Every report or allegation of fraud, corruption or retaliation against refugees by UNHCR personnel or those working for our partners, is thoroughly assessed and, if substantiated, results in disciplinary sanctions, including summary dismissal from the organization.

      Investigations at UNHCR on possible misconduct by our workforce are carried out by the Inspector General’s Office (IGO), which is an independent oversight body. It consists of expert investigators, with a strong background in law enforcement, military, war crimes tribunals or people who occupied similar functions in private companies and other international organizations. In recent years, additional investigators were recruited and some stationed in Nairobi, Pretoria and Bangkok enabling them to deploy rapidly and to have a better understanding of local contexts and issues.

      UNHCR disciplinary measures have been reinforced, with a 60% rise in the number of disciplinary actions taken by the High Commissioner between 2017 and 2018. Referrals to national authorities are undertaken systematically in cases involving conduct that may amount to criminal conduct and waivers of immunity facilitated.

      In addition, we have significantly strengthened our risk management capacity and skills in the past two years. We now have a solid network of some 300 risk officers, focal points and managers in our field operations and at HQ to help ensure that risks are properly identified and managed, that the integrity of our programmes is further enhanced and that the risk culture is reinforced across the organization.

      The prevention of fraud, including identity fraud, is key to ensuring the integrity of our resettlement programme. This is why we use biometrics in registration, including iris scans and fingerprints, in the majority of refugee operations where we operate, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Biometric registration makes theft of identity virtually impossible and biometric screening of refugees is done at various stages of the resettlement process, including right before departure. In other places, such as Libya and Yemen, where security conditions do not allow us to deploy such a tool, we take all possible preventive measures related to fraud.

      We are acutely aware that refugees are at times approached by people trying to defraud them. For example, reports and investigations have found multiple occasions where people pose as UNHCR officials, using fake ID cards and claiming that they can influence the resettlement process. While it is impossible for UNHCR to root out ground level imposters, we have taken renewed action to raise awareness among refugees, help them recognize and report fraudsters, reminding them that all services provided by UNHCR and its partners are free.

      Resettlement is highly sought after by refugees. UNHCR considered 1.2 million people to have resettlement needs in 2018 alone, while less than 60,000 people were resettled last year. In 2019, those needs further increased. The fact that the needs for resettlement are far greater than the places available is a factor that weighs heavily in favor of those wishing to exploit desperate refugees, many of whom have lived many years in refugee camps, with no foreseeable end to their plight in sight for themselves or their children.

      UNHCR strives to ensure that refugees have proper means to provide feedback. This is essential to ensure their protection and the very reason why we completed last year a survey across 41 countries. We are using the information on the communication systems most commonly used by our beneficiaries – such as complaint boxes, hotlines, emails, social media and face to face interaction – and existing challenges to strengthen these mechanisms. In Kenya, for instance, refugees can report misconduct of any staff member of UNHCR, a partner or a contractor by email (inspector@unhcr.org or helpline.kenya@unhcr.org), by filling in a webform (www.unhcr.org/php/complaints.php), by using complaints boxes that are available at all UNHCR offices or by calling our toll-free local Helpline (800720063).

      UNHCR recognizes its responsibility to protect refugees, particularly those who come forward and cooperate with an investigation to root out misconduct. Significant attention has been devoted to strengthening measures to protect witnesses and people of concern who cooperate with an IGO investigation and these efforts are continuing. We have put a specific protocol in place, with steps taken during the investigation phase, including in the conduct of interviews, the anonymization of testimony and redaction of investigative findings and reports.

      When it comes to our own staff being targeted, our record is clear: If a staff member is found to have retaliated against another member of our workforce for reporting wrongdoing, it leads to dismissal. We have a robust policy to protect staff members that are retaliated against. In September 2018, we issued a new policy on Protection against Retaliation, which now includes our affiliate workforce, expands the scope of the activities considered as protected and extends the timeline to report. It also provides interim measures to safeguard the interests of the complainant and strengthens corrective measures.

      We also launched a confidential independent helpline available to all colleagues who wish to report misconduct or obtain advice on what to do when in doubt. This helpline is managed by an external provider and is available 24/7 by phone, through a web form and an app. It offers the possibility to report in complete anonymity.

      We are committed to eradicating misconduct from our organization. If we receive pertinent information concerning alleged fraud, corruption or misconduct by a member of our workforce, we take action, and if the allegations are substantiated, act to end such inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour. UNHCR encourages anyone, including refugees and journalists, with information about suspected fraud or other wrongdoing to contact its Inspector General’s Office without delay at http://www.unhcr.org/inspector-generals-office.html.

      https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2019/4/5ca8a2594/unhcr-strongly-rejects-widespread-allegations-against-workforce.html

  • Uganda accused of promoting sex tourism with ’curvy women’ ...
    http://news.trust.org/item/20190207175109-1s11y

    Uganda must cancel a beauty contest that seeks to attract more visitors by showcasing “curvy women” because it objectifies women and promotes sex tourism, campaigners said on Thursday.

    Tourism Minister Godfrey Kiwanda sparked outrage on Wednesday when he unveiled the “Miss Curvy Uganda” contest, saying the east African nation had “naturally endowed” women who should be used as “a strategy” to boost tourism.

    Women’s rights activists, politicians, church leaders and ordinary Ugandans said the contest was “state-sponsored objectification of women” and was treating women as though they were wildlife. Some are calling on Kiwanda to resign.

    More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the tourism ministry to abandon the pageant and apologise to the public.

    “In Uganda, the ministry of tourism has added ’curvy women’ on the list of ’tourism attractions’. I personally feel attacked. This is degrading women,” said Primrose Murungi, an entrepreneur and activist who started the online petition.

    #Ouganda #femmes #attractions_touristiques #curvy_women

  • Viral hepatitis: A silent epidemic killing more people than HIV, ma...
    https://diasp.eu/p/8157219

    Viral hepatitis: A silent epidemic killing more people than HIV, malaria or TB

    Viral hepatitis is on the rise. Tackling hepatitis B in Africa is key to fighting back. Article word count: 2534

    HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18627683 Posted by pseudolus (karma: 2692) Post stats: Points: 153 - Comments: 63 - 2018-12-07T14:03:41Z

    #HackerNews #epidemic #hepatitis #hiv #killing #malaria #more #people #silent #than #viral

    Article content:

    Nuru was prepared for the worst when she went to get screened for HIV eight years ago. After caring for her mother in Uganda, who died as a result of the virus, Nuru moved to the United Kingdom to study, and decided to take her health into her own hands. “I was ready to be told I had HIV,” she says. “I felt, ‘That’s okay. I’ve (...)

  • With Nearly 400,000 Dead in South Sudan, Will the U.S. Change Policy? - FPIF
    https://fpif.org/with-nearly-400000-dead-in-south-sudan-will-the-u-s-change-policy

    The United States has also taken sides in the war. The Obama administration supported President Kiir, helping him acquire arms from Uganda, a close U.S. ally in the region. “Uganda got a wink from us,” a former senior official has acknowledged.

    To keep the weapons flowing, the Obama administration spent years blocking calls for an arms embargo.

    [...]

    Jon Temin, who worked for the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff during the final years of the Obama administration, has been highly critical of the Obama administration’s choices. In a recent report published by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Temin argued that some of the worst violence could have been avoided if the Obama administration had implemented an arms embargo early in the conflict and refrained from siding so consistently with President Kiir.

    “The United States, at multiple stages, failed to step back and broadly reassess policy,” Temin reported.

    [...]

    More recently, the Trump administration has started paying some attention. The White House has posted statements to its website criticizing South Sudanese leaders and threatening to withhold assistance. Administration officials coordinated a recent vote at the United Nations Security Council to finally impose an arms embargo on the country.

    In other ways, however, the Trump administration has continued many of the policies of the Obama administration. It has not called much attention to the crisis. With the exception of the arms embargo, which could always be evaded with more winks to Uganda, it has done very little to step back, reassess policy, and change course.

    The United States could “lose leverage” in South Sudan “if it becomes antagonistic toward the government,” U.S. diplomat Gordon Buay warned earlier this year.

    #etats-unis #sud-Soudan

  • Rwandan refugees in Uganda may be thrown out – Minister Onek

    The government of Uganda is considering cancelling the refugee status of thousands of Rwandans living in Uganda.

    The announcement was made by the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Hillary Onek while meeting lawmakers of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in Kampala.

    He explained that government is considering cancelling their refugee status and instead issuing them with temporary permits.
    “We are going to turn them over to the immigration department so that their long stay in Uganda will be subjected to immigration laws because immigration laws in Uganda say that you are given a #visa to stay for three months. Thereafter you have to justify your further stay in a country,” Mr Onek said.

    The minister said that the process of convincing Rwandans to return home has not been easy as many are not willing to do so.

    Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans fled to Uganda following the 1994 genocide.

    Rwanda has generally been peaceful for over 20 years and many Rwandese who had fled have since returned to their home country.
    But government says there are still over 14000 Rwandans still living in Uganda as refugees.

    https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Rwandan-refugees-Uganda-may-be-thrown-out-Minister-Onek/688334-4853062-ra0ok9/index.html
    #réfugiés_rwandais #ouganda #asile #migrations #réfugiés #modèle_ougandais (?) #statut_de_réfugié #renvois #expulsions

    • Abuses against Rwandan refugees in Uganda: Has Time Come for Accountability?

      For many years, Rwandan refugees in Uganda have faced abuses, including arbitrary detention, forced return to Rwanda and attacks on their physical security, without any form of accountability. However, last Friday, 24 August, former Inspector-General of the Ugandan police, General Kale Kayihura, has been charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping and repatriation of Rwandan refugees, amongst other charges. In October last year, other security officers had already been arrested and indicted under similar charges. Is it finally time for justice?

      The case of Joel Mutabazi

      Kayihura is accused of aiding and abetting the kidnapping of Rwandan refugees Joel Mutabazi, Jackson Karemera and Innocent Kalisa by Ugandan police officers. Six Ugandan police officers, one Rwandan security officer and one Congolese individual are on trial for their involvement in the abduction and forced return of Mutabazi. A senior police who had been arrested earlier in connection to this case has since been released.

      Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard of Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, had been arrested in April 2010 in Rwanda and detained and tortured in military custody for his suspected links with opposition groups. After he was released in October 2011, Mutabazi fled to Uganda, where he was granted refugee status. In 2013, he was abducted from a UNHCR safe house near Uganda’s capital Kampala, and taken back to Rwanda. Mutabazi’s whereabouts were unknown for several days, until the Rwandan police stated that he was in their custody. UNHCR, which failed to protect Mutabazi, expressed its concern over the breach of the principle of non-refoulement and called for accountability.

      In 2014, a Rwandan military court sentenced Mutabazi to life in prison, including for forming an armed group and for terrorism. His younger brother, Jackson Karemera, and another co-accused, Innocent Kalisa, also lived in Uganda before the trial and were themselves abducted back to Rwanda. They were sentenced respectively to four months and 25 years in prison. Karemera was rearrested after his release, his family hasn’t heard from him since. All three said during the trial they had been tortured in detention in Rwanda, but the court did not order an investigation into those allegations.

      Abuses against Rwandan refugees

      The illegal transfer of Mutabazi and his co-accused to Rwanda was not an isolated case. Over the years, including more recently, International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) has received several reports about threats, illegal arrests, attacks and forced returns of Rwandan refugees in Uganda. Many of such cases remain unreported, given the secrecy surrounding such abuses and the fear of reprisals, and are difficult to confirm. A few examples include:

      In July 2010, Rwandan refugees were forcibly removed en masse from refugee settlements in south-western Uganda to Rwanda. Ugandan police officers used live rounds, wounding several in the process, to force refugees onto buses which dropped them in Rwanda.
      In November 2011, Charles Ingabire, a Rwandan journalist, was murdered when he left a bar in Kampala. He was a fierce government critic who had obtained refugee status in Uganda. An investigation was opened, but to date, nobody has been charged for involvement in this crime.
      In 2017, according to judicial documents, a Rwandan refugee was illegally detained for almost two months in Kireka police station in Kampala, and threatened with return to Rwanda, on the basis of his alleged involvement in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Rwanda and Uganda do not have an extradition treaty. He was never charged and was eventually released.
      Multiple sources confirmed to IRRI that on 20 December 2017, five Rwandan nationals were arrested in Mbarara, and one in Kampala. They were detained incommunicado for several days and allegedly tortured. Five of them were driven to the border with Rwanda nine days later and deported. According to Uganda’s army spokesperson, one was not deported because of her refugee status, and remained in incommunicado detention.

      In addition to abuses against refugees, there have been several allegations, in the past year, of abuses against Rwandan nationals residing in Uganda. According to several sources, two Rwandan citizens were arrested in Uganda, respectively on 9 November 2017 and 3 January 2018, and detained incommunicado before being sent back to Rwanda. The first says he was tortured, which was confirmed to IRRI by a source knowledgeable about the case on 24 January 2018: “He was beaten up and tortured… and dumped at the border with Rwanda. He couldn’t walk and barely could talk.” The other man also reported to the media that he was tortured before being taken to the border with Rwanda.

      For none of these cases has there been any apparent effort to provide meaningful accountability. Other reports have been difficult to verify, but as a consequence of such events, Rwandan refugees in Uganda continue to fear for their safety. Rwanda and Uganda have had close but turbulent bilateral relations in recent years, and many connections remain between individuals within the countries security services. There have, however, been reports that relations between the two countries have deteriorated.

      Many interpreted the decision by Uganda, in early 2018, not to invoke a cessation clause against the more than 15,000 Rwandan refugees still currently living in Uganda as an illustration of this dynamic. This cessation clause, if invoked, would have forced refugees who fled Rwanda before 31 December 1998 to return to Rwanda, reapply for refugee protection or acquire citizenship in their country of exile. Seven countries have already begun implementing the cessation clause.

      Concerns about right to a fair trial

      While the arrested officers have themselves been accused of involvement in human rights violations, their own right to a fair trial and lawful detention seemed to have also been in jeopardy since their arrest. The arrest of General Kale Kayihura seems to have violated legal provisions on judicial review and detention terms. According to judicial documents and interviews with several people knowledgeable of the case, at least one of the accused in the trial against senior police officials has been detained incommunicado and tortured, in an attempt to extract testimony against other senior figures. Court documents show that the court told a bail applicant to edit out details of torture, but on 31 January 2018 a judge ordered an investigation into torture allegations. There have also been concerns about the prosecution of civilian suspects in a military court, a common practice in Uganda, and about settling scores within the security apparatus.

      These trials against former senior Ugandan security officials could send a welcome signal to Rwandan refugees that abuses against them will be no longer tolerated. But justice can only be done if arrests and trials are conducted in accordance with standards in Ugandan and international law. More efforts must be done to end ongoing abuses against Rwandan refugees, and bring all perpetrators to account.

      http://refugee-rights.org/abuses-against-rwandan-refugees-in-uganda-has-time-come-for-accounta
      #abus

  • Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward

    Uganda’s refugee policy urgently needs an honest discussion, if sustainable solutions for both refugees and host communities are to be found, a new policy paper by International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) reveals.

    The paper, entitled Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward puts the “Ugandan model” in its historical and political context, shines a spotlight on its implementation gaps, and proposes recommendations for the way forward.

    Uganda has since 2013 opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees from South Sudan, bringing the total number of refugees to more than one million. It has been praised for its positive steps on freedom of movement and access to work for refugees, going against the global grain. But generations of policy, this paper shows, have only entrenched the sole focus on refugee settlements and on repatriation as the only viable durable solution. Support to urban refugees and local integration have been largely overlooked.

    The Ugandan refugee crisis unfolded at the same time as the UN adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, and states committed to implement a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Uganda immediately seized this opportunity and adopted its own strategy to implement these principles. As the world looks to Uganda for best practices in refugee policy, and rightly so, it is vital to understand the gaps between rhetoric and reality, and the pitfalls of Uganda’s policy. This paper identifies the following challenges:

    There is a danger that the promotion of progressive refugee policies becomes more rhetoric than reality, creating a smoke-screen that squeezes out meaningful discussion about robust alternatives. Policy-making has come at the expense of real qualitative change on the ground.
    Refugees in urban areas continue to be largely excluded from any support due to an ongoing focus on refugee settlements, including through aid provision
    Local integration and access to citizenship have been virtually abandoned, leaving voluntary repatriation as the only solution on the table. Given the protracted crises in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, this remains unrealistic.
    Host communities remain unheard, with policy conversations largely taking place in Kampala and Geneva. Many Ugandans and refugees have neither the economic resources nor sufficient political leverage to influence the policies that are meant to benefit them.

    The policy paper proposes a number of recommendations to improve the Ugandan refugee model:

    First, international donors need to deliver on their promise of significant financial support.
    Second, repatriation cannot remain the only serious option on the table. There has to be renewed discussion on local integration with Uganda communities and a dramatic increase in resettlement to wealthier states across the globe.
    Third, local communities hosting refugees must be consulted and their voices incorporated in a more meaningful and systematic way, if tensions within and between communities are to be avoided.
    Fourth, in order to genuinely enhance refugee self-reliance, the myth of the “local settlement” needs to be debunked and recognized for what it is: the ongoing isolation of refugees and the utilization of humanitarian assistance to keep them isolated and dependent on aid.


    http://refugee-rights.org/uganda-refugee-policies-the-history-the-politics-the-way-forward
    #modèle_ougandais #Ouganda #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    Pour télécharger le #rapport:
    http://refugee-rights.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/IRRI-Uganda-policy-paper-October-2018-Paper.pdf

    • A New Deal for Refugees

      Global policies that aim to resettle and integrate displaced populations into local societies is providing a way forward.

      For many years now, groups that work with refugees have fought to put an end to the refugee camp. It’s finally starting to happen.

      Camps are a reasonable solution to temporary dislocation. But refugee crises can go on for decades. Millions of refugees have lived in their country of shelter for more than 30 years. Two-thirds of humanitarian assistance — intended for emergencies — is spent on crises that are more than eight years old.

      Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle. “You keep people for 20 years in camps — don’t expect the next generation to be problem-free,” said Xavier Devictor, who advises the World Bank on refugee issues. “Keeping people in those conditions is not a good idea.” It’s also hard to imagine a better breeding ground for terrorists.

      “As long as the system is ‘we feed you,’ it’s always going to be too expensive for the international community to pay for,” Mr. Devictor said. It’s gotten more and more difficult for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise that money; in many crises, the refugee agency can barely keep people from starving. It’s even harder now as nations turn against foreigners — even as the number of people fleeing war and violence has reached a record high.

      At the end of last year, nearly 70 million people were either internally displaced in their own countries, or had crossed a border and become a refugee. That is the largest number of displaced in history — yes, more than at the end of World War II. The vast majority flee to neighboring countries — which can be just as badly off.

      Last year, the United States accepted about 30,000 refugees.

      Uganda, which is a global model for how it treats refugees, has one-seventh of America’s population and a tiny fraction of the wealth. Yet it took in 1,800 refugees per day between mid-2016 and mid-2017 from South Sudan alone. And that’s one of four neighbors whose people take refuge in Uganda.

      Bangladesh, already the world’s most crowded major nation, has accepted more than a million Rohingya fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. “If we can feed 160 million people, then (feeding) another 500,00-700,000 …. We can do it. We can share our food,” Shiekh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister, said last year.

      Lebanon is host to approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees, in addition to a half-million Palestinians, some of whom have been there for generations. One in three residents of Lebanon is a refugee.

      The refugee burden falls heavily on a few, poor countries, some of them at risk of destabilization, which can in turn produce more refugees. The rest of the world has been unwilling to share that burden.

      But something happened that could lead to real change: Beginning in 2015, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees crossed the Mediterranean in small boats and life rafts into Europe.

      Suddenly, wealthy European countries got interested in fixing a broken system: making it more financially viable, more dignified for refugees, and more palatable for host governments and communities.

      In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution stating that all countries shared the responsibility of protecting refugees and supporting host countries. It also laid out a plan to move refugees out of camps into normal lives in their host nations.

      Donor countries agreed they would take more refugees and provide more long-term development aid to host countries: schools, hospitals, roads and job-creation measures that can help both refugees and the communities they settle in. “It looked at refugee crises as development opportunities, rather than a humanitarian risk to be managed,” said Marcus Skinner, a policy adviser at the International Rescue Committee.

      The General Assembly will vote on the specifics next month (whatever they come up with won’t be binding). The Trump administration pulled out of the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration, but so far it has not opposed the refugee agreement.

      There’s a reason refugee camps exist: Host governments like them. Liberating refugees is a hard sell. In camps, refugees are the United Nations’ problem. Out of camps, refugees are the local governments’ problem. And they don’t want to do anything to make refugees comfortable or welcome.

      Bangladesh’s emergency response for the Rohingya has been staggeringly generous. But “emergency” is the key word. The government has resisted granting Rohingya schooling, work permits or free movement. It is telling Rohingya, in effect, “Don’t get any ideas about sticking around.”

      This attitude won’t deter the Rohingya from coming, and it won’t send them home more quickly. People flee across the closest border — often on foot — that allows them to keep their families alive. And they’ll stay until home becomes safe again. “It’s the simple practicality of finding the easiest way to refuge,” said Victor Odero, regional advocacy coordinator for East Africa and the Horn of Africa at the International Rescue Committee. “Any question of policies is a secondary matter.”

      So far, efforts to integrate refugees have had mixed success. The first experiment was a deal for Jordan, which was hosting 650,000 Syrian refugees, virtually none of whom were allowed to work. Jordan agreed to give them work permits. In exchange, it got grants, loans and trade concessions normally available only to the poorest countries.

      However, though the refugees have work permits, Jordan has put only a moderate number of them into jobs.

      Any agreement should include the views of refugees from the start — the Jordan Compact failed to do this. Aid should be conditioned upon the right things. The deal should have measured refugee jobs, instead of work permits. Analysts also said the benefits should have been targeted more precisely, to reach the areas with most refugees.

      To spread this kind of agreement to other nations, the World Bank established a $2 billion fund in July 2017. The money is available to very poor countries that host many refugees, such as Uganda and Bangladesh. In return, they must take steps to integrate refugees into society. The money will come as grants and zero interest loans with a 10-year grace period. Middle-income countries like Lebanon and Colombia would also be eligible for loans at favorable rates under a different fund.

      Over the last 50 years, only one developing country has granted refugees full rights. In Uganda, refugees can live normally. Instead of camps there are settlements, where refugees stay voluntarily because they get a plot of land. Refugees can work, live anywhere, send their children to school and use the local health services. The only thing they can’t do is become Ugandan citizens.

      Given the global hostility to refugees, it is remarkable that Ugandans still approve of these policies. “There have been flashes of social tension or violence between refugees and their hosts, mostly because of a scarcity of resources,” Mr. Odero said. “But they have not become widespread or protracted.”

      This is the model the United Nations wants the world to adopt. But it is imperiled even in Uganda — because it requires money that isn’t there.

      The new residents are mainly staying near the South Sudan border in Uganda’s north — one of the least developed parts of the country. Hospitals, schools, wells and roads were crumbling or nonexistent before, and now they must serve a million more people.

      Joël Boutroue, the head of the United Nations refugee agency in Uganda, said current humanitarian funding covered a quarter of what the crisis required. “At the moment, not even half of refugees go to primary school,” he said. “There are around 100 children per classroom.”

      Refugees are going without food, medical care and water. The plots of land they get have grown smaller and smaller.

      Uganda is doing everything right — except for a corruption scandal. It could really take advantage of the new plan to develop the refugee zone. That would not only help refugees, it would help their host communities. And it would alleviate growing opposition to rights for refugees. “The Ugandan government is under pressure from politicians who see the government giving favored treatment to refugees,” Mr. Boutroue said. “If we want to change the perception of refugees from recipients of aid to economic assets, we have to showcase that refugees bring development.”

      The World Bank has so far approved two projects — one for water and sanitation and one for city services such as roads and trash collection. But they haven’t gotten started yet.

      Mr. Devictor said that tackling long-term development issues was much slower than providing emergency aid. “The reality is that it will be confusing and confused for a little while,” he said. Water, for example, is trucked in to Uganda’s refugee settlements, as part of humanitarian aid. “That’s a huge cost,” he said. “But if we think this crisis is going to last for six more months, it makes sense. If it’s going to last longer, we should think about upgrading the water system.”

      Most refugee crises are not surprises, Mr. Devictor said. “If you look at a map, you can predict five or six crises that are going to produce refugees over the next few years.” It’s often the same places, over and over. That means developmental help could come in advance, minimizing the burden on the host. “Do we have to wait until people cross the border to realize we’re going to have an emergency?” he said.

      Well, we might. If politicians won’t respond to a crisis, it’s hard to imagine them deciding to plan ahead to avert one. Political commitment, or lack of it, always rules. The world’s new approach to refugees was born out of Europe’s panic about the Syrians on their doorstep. But no European politician is panicking about South Sudanese or Rohingya refugees — or most crises. They’re too far away. The danger is that the new approach will fall victim to the same political neglect that has crippled the old one.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/opinion/refugee-camps-integration.html

      #Ouganda #modèle_ougandais #réinstallation #intégration

      avec ce commentaire de #Jeff_Crisp sur twitter :

      “Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle.”
      Has this prizewinning author actually been to a refugee camp?

      https://twitter.com/JFCrisp/status/1031892657117831168

    • Appreciating Uganda’s ‘open door’ policy for refugees

      While the rest of the world is nervous and choosing to take an emotional position on matters of forced migration and refugees, sometimes closing their doors in the face of people who are running from persecution, Uganda’s refugee policy and practice continues to be liberal, with an open door to all asylum seekers, writes Arthur Matsiko

      http://thisisafrica.me/appreciating-ugandas-open-door-policy-refugees

    • Ouganda. La générosité intéressée du pays le plus ouvert du monde aux réfugiés

      L’Ouganda est le pays qui accueille le plus de réfugiés. Un million de Sud-Soudanais fuyant la guerre s’y sont installés. Mais cette noble intention des autorités cache aussi des calculs moins avouables : l’arrivée massive de l’aide internationale encourage l’inaction et la #corruption.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/ouganda-la-generosite-interessee-du-pays-le-plus-ouvert-du-mo

    • Refugees in Uganda to benefit from Dubai-funded schools but issues remain at crowded settlement

      Dubai Cares is building three classrooms in a primary school at Ayilo II but the refugee settlement lacks a steady water supply, food and secondary schools, Roberta Pennington writes from Adjumani


      https://www.thenational.ae/uae/refugees-in-uganda-to-benefit-from-dubai-funded-schools-but-issues-remai

    • FUGA DAL SUD SUDAN. LUIS, L’UGANDA E QUEL PEZZO DI TERRA DONATA AI PROFUGHI

      Luis zappa, prepara dei fori per tirare su una casa in attesa di ritrovare la sua famiglia. Il terreno è una certezza, glielo ha consegnato il Governo ugandese. Il poterci vivere con i suoi cari non ancora. L’ultima volta li ha visti in Sud Sudan. Nel ritornare a casa sua moglie e i suoi otto figli non c’erano più. É sicuro si siano messi in cammino verso l’Uganda, così da quel giorno è iniziata la sua rincorsa. É certo che li ritroverà nella terra che ora lo ha accolto. Quella di Luis è una delle tante storie raccolte nei campi profughi del nord dell’Uganda, in una delle ultime missioni di Amref, in cui era presente anche Giusi Nicolini, già Sindaco di Lampedusa e Premio Unesco per la pace. 



      Modello Uganda? Dell’Uganda il mondo dice «campione di accoglienza». Accoglienza che sta sperimentando da mesi nei confronti dei profughi sud sudanesi, che scappano da uno dei Paesi più drammaticamente in crisi al mondo. Sono 4 milioni le persone che in Sud Sudan hanno dovuto lasciare le proprie case. Chi muovendosi verso altri Paesi e chi in altre regioni sud sudanesi. In questi ultimi tempi arrivano in Uganda anche persone che fuggono dalla Rep. Democratica del Congo.

      https://www.amref.it/2018_02_23_Fuga_dal_Sud_Sudan_Luis_lUganda_e_quel_pezzo_di_terra_donata_ai_pro

    • As Rich Nations Close the Door on Refugees, Uganda Welcomes Them

      President Trump is vowing to send the military to stop migrants trudging from Central America. Europe’s leaders are paying African nations to block migrants from crossing the Mediterranean — and detaining the ones who make it in filthy, overcrowded camps.

      But Solomon Osakan has a very different approach in this era of rising xenophobia. From his uncluttered desk in northwest Uganda, he manages one of the largest concentrations of refugees anywhere in the world: more than 400,000 people scattered across his rural district.

      He explained what he does with them: Refugees are allotted some land — enough to build a little house, do a little farming and “be self-sufficient,” said Mr. Osakan, a Ugandan civil servant. Here, he added, the refugees live in settlements, not camps — with no barbed wire, and no guards in sight.

      “You are free, and you can come and go as you want,” Mr. Osakan added.

      As many nations are securing their borders and turning refugees away, Uganda keeps welcoming them. And they keep coming, fleeing catastrophes from across this part of Africa.

      In all, Uganda has as many as 1.25 million refugees on its soil, perhaps more, making it one of the most welcoming countries in the world, according to the United Nations.

      And while Uganda’s government has made hosting refugees a core national policy, it works only because of the willingness of rural Ugandans to accept an influx of foreigners on their land and shoulder a big part of the burden.

      Uganda is not doing this without help. About $200 million in humanitarian aid to the country this year will largely pay to feed and care for the refugees. But they need places to live and small plots to farm, so villages across the nation’s north have agreed to carve up their communally owned land and share it with the refugees, often for many years at a time.

      “Our population was very few and our community agreed to loan the land,” said Charles Azamuke, 27, of his village’s decision in 2016 to accept refugees from South Sudan, which has been torn apart by civil war. “We are happy to have these people. We call them our brothers.”

      United Nations officials have pointed to Uganda for its “open border” policy. While the United States, a much more populous nation, has admitted more than three million refugees since 1975, the American government settles them in the country after they have first been thoroughly screened overseas.

      By contrast, Uganda has essentially opened its borders to refugees, rarely turning anyone away.

      Some older Ugandans explain that they, too, had been refugees once, forced from their homes during dictatorship and war. And because the government ensures that spending on refugees benefits Ugandans as well, younger residents spoke of how refugees offered them some unexpected opportunities.

      “I was a farmer. I used to dig,” Mr. Azamuke said. But after learning Arabic from refugees from South Sudan, he got a better job — as a translator at a new health clinic that serves the newcomers.

      His town, Ofua, is bisected by a dirt road, with the Ugandans living on the uphill side and the South Sudanese on the downhill side. The grass-thatched homes of the Ugandans look a bit larger and sturdier, but not much.

      As the sun began to set one recent afternoon, a group of men on the Ugandan side began to pass around a large plastic bottle of waragi, a home brew. On the South Sudanese side, the men were sober, gathered around a card game.

      On both sides, the men had nothing but tolerant words for one another. “Actually, we don’t have any problems with these people,” said Martin Okuonzi, a Ugandan farmer cleaning his fingernails with a razor blade.

      As the men lounged, the women and girls were still at work, preparing dinner, tending children, fetching water and gathering firewood. They explained that disputes did arise, especially as the two groups competed for limited resources like firewood.

      “We’ve been chased away,” said Agnes Ajonye, a 27-year-old refugee from South Sudan. “They say we are destroying their forests.”

      And disputes broke out at the well, where Ugandan women insist they should be allowed to skip ahead of refugees.

      “If we hadn’t given you the land you live on, wouldn’t you be dying in Sudan?” said Adili Chandia, a 62-year-old refugee, recounting the lecture she and others got from a frustrated Ugandan woman waiting in line.

      Ugandan officials often talk about the spirit of Pan-Africanism that motivates their approach to refugees. President Yoweri Museveni, an autocratic leader who has been in power for 32 years, says Uganda’s generosity can be traced to the precolonial days of warring kingdoms and succession disputes, when losing factions often fled to a new land.

      This history of flight and resettlement is embedded in some of the names of local groups around western Uganda, like Batagwenda, which means “the ones that could not continue traveling.”

      The government encourages the nation to go along with its policy by directing that 30 percent of foreign aid destined for refugees be spent in ways that benefit Ugandans nearby. So when money for refugees results in new schools, clinics and wells, Ugandans are more likely to welcome than resent them.

      For Mr. Museveni, hosting refugees has given him relevance and political capital abroad at a time when he would otherwise have little.

      A former guerrilla fighter who quickly stabilized much of his country, Mr. Museveni was once hailed as an example of new African leadership. He was relatively quick to confront the AIDS epidemic, and he invited back Ugandans of Indian and Pakistani descent who had been expelled during the brutal reign of Idi Amin in the 1970s.

      But his star has fallen considerably. He has clung to power for decades. His security forces have beaten political opponents. Freedom of assembly and expression are severely curtailed.

      Even so, Uganda’s openness toward refugees makes Mr. Museveni important to European nations, which are uneasy at the prospect of more than a million refugees heading for Europe.

      Other African nations also host a significant number of refugees, but recent polls show that Ugandans are more likely than their neighbors in Kenya or Tanzania to support land assistance or the right to work for refugees.

      Part of the reason is that Ugandans have fled their homes as well, first during the murderous reign of Mr. Amin, then during the period of retribution after his overthrow, and again during the 1990s and 2000s, when Joseph Kony, the guerrilla leader who terrorized northern Uganda, left a trail of kidnapped children and mutilated victims.

      Many Ugandans found refuge in what is today South Sudan. Mark Idraku, 57, was a teenager when he fled with his mother to the area. They received two acres of farmland, which helped support them until they returned home six years later.

      “When we were in exile in Sudan, they also helped us,” Mr. Idraku said. “Nobody ever asked for a single coin.”

      Mr. Idraku has since returned the favor, loaning three acres to a South Sudanese refugee named Queen Chandia, 37. Ms. Chandia said the land — along with additional plots other Ugandans allow her to farm — has made all the difference.

      Her homestead of thatched-roof huts teemed with children tending their chores, grinding nuts into paste and maize into meal. Ms. Chandia is the mother of a girl and two boys. But over the years, as violence hollowed out her home country, Ms. Chandia started taking in the orphaned children of relatives and friends. Now 22 children call her “mom.”

      A refugee for nearly her entire life, Ms. Chandia arrived in Uganda as a young girl nearly 30 years ago. For years, she worried about being expelled.
      Image

      “Maybe these Ugandans will change their minds on us,” she said, describing the thought that plagued her. Then one day the worry stopped.

      But Mr. Osakan, the administrator who oversees refugee affairs in the country’s extreme northwest, is anxious. There is an Ebola outbreak over the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Osakan fears what might happen if — or when — a refugee turns up in Uganda with the dreaded illness.

      “It would destroy all the harmony between refugees and host communities,” he said, explaining that it would probably lead to calls to seal the border.

      For now, the border is very much open, although the number of refugees arriving has fallen significantly. In one of the newer settlements, many of the refugees came last year, fleeing an attack in a South Sudanese city. But some complained about receiving too little land, about a quarter acre per family, which is less than previous refugees had received.

      “Even if you have skills — in carpentry — you are not given a chance,” said one refugee, Simon Ludoru. He looked over his shoulder, to where a construction crew was building a nursery school. The schoolhouse would teach both local Ugandan and South Sudanese children together, but the workers were almost entirely Ugandan, he said.

      At the construction site, the general contractor, Sam Omongo, 50, said he had hired refugees for the job. “Oh, yes,” he exclaimed.

      How many?

      “Not a lot, actually,” he acknowledged. “I have about three.” Mr. Omongo called one over.

      “Are you a refugee?” Mr. Omongo asked the slight man.

      “No, I’m from Uganda,” he said softly. His name was Amos Chandiga, 28. He lived nearby and owned six acres of land, though he worked only four of them. He had lent the other two to a pair of refugees.

      “They asked me, and I gave it to them,” Mr. Chandiga explained. He patted his chest. “It comes from here, in my heart.”


      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/world/africa/uganda-refugees.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

    • Uganda: a role model for refugee integration?

      Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa and is, after Turkey and Pakistan, the third-largest refugee recipient country worldwide. Political and humanitarian actors have widely praised Ugandan refugee policies because of their progressive nature: In Uganda, in contrast to many other refugee-receiving countries, these are de jure allowed to work, to establish businesses, to access public services such as education, to move freely and have access to a plot of land. Moreover, Uganda is a pilot country of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). In this Working Paper the authors ascertain whether Uganda indeed can be taken as a role model for refugee integration, as largely portrayed in the media and the political discourse. They identify the challenges to livelihoods and integration to assess Uganda’s self-reliance and settlement approach and its aspiration towards providing refugees and Ugandan communities receiving refugees with opportunities for becoming self-reliant. Drawing on three months of field research in northern and southern Uganda from July to September of 2017 with a particular focus on South Sudanese refugees, the authors concentrate on three aspects: Access to land, employment and education, intra- and inter-group relations. The findings show that refugees in Uganda are far from self-reliant and socially integrated. Although in Uganda refugees are provided with land, the quality and size of the allocated plots is so poor that they cannot earn a living from agricultural production, which thus, rather impedes self-reliance. Inadequate infrastructure also hinders access to markets and employment opportunities. Even though most local communities have been welcoming to refugees, the sentiment has shifted recently in some areas, particularly where local communities that are often not better off than refugees feel that they have not benefitted from the presence of refugees....

      https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/62871

  • The Vulnerability Contest

    Traumatized Afghan child soldiers who were forced to fight in Syria struggle to find protection in Europe’s asylum lottery.

    Mosa did not choose to come forward. Word had spread among the thousands of asylum seekers huddled inside Moria that social workers were looking for lone children among the general population. High up on the hillside, in the Afghan area of the chaotic refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, some residents knew someone they suspected was still a minor. They led the aid workers to Mosa.

    The boy, whose broad and beardless face mark him out as a member of the Hazara ethnic group, had little reason to trust strangers. It was hard to persuade him just to sit with them and listen. Like many lone children, Mosa had slipped through the age assessment carried out on first arrival at Moria: He was registered as 27 years old. With the help of a translator, the social worker explained that there was still time to challenge his classification as an adult. But Mosa did not seem to be able to engage with what he was being told. It would take weeks to establish trust and reveal his real age and background.

    Most new arrivals experience shock when their hopes of a new life in Europe collide with Moria, the refugee camp most synonymous with the miserable consequences of Europe’s efforts to contain the flow of refugees and migrants across the Aegean. When it was built, the camp was meant to provide temporary shelter for fewer than 2,000 people. Since the European Union struck a deal in March 2016 with Turkey under which new arrivals are confined to Greece’s islands, Moria’s population has swollen to 9,000. It has become notorious for overcrowding, snowbound tents, freezing winter deaths, violent protests and suicides by adults and children alike.

    While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Stathis Poularakis is a lawyer who previously served for two years on an appeal committee dealing with asylum cases in Greece and has worked extensively on Lesbos. While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Asylum claims on Lesbos can take anywhere between six months and more than two years to be resolved. In the second quarter of 2018, Greece faced nearly four times as many asylum claims per capita as Germany. The E.U. has responded by increasing the presence of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and broadening its remit so that EASO officials can conduct asylum interviews. But the promises that EASO will bring Dutch-style efficiency conceal the fact that the vast majority of its hires are not seconded from other member states but drawn from the same pool of Greeks as the national asylum service.

    Asylum caseworkers at Moria face an overwhelming backlog and plummeting morale. A serving EASO official describes extraordinary “pressure to go faster” and said there was “so much subjectivity in the system.” The official also said that it was human nature to reject more claims “when you see every other country is closing its borders.”

    Meanwhile, the only way to escape Moria while your claim is being processed is to be recognized as a “vulnerable” case. Vulnerables get permission to move to the mainland or to more humane accommodation elsewhere on the island. The term is elastic and can apply to lone children and women, families or severely physically or mentally ill people. In all cases the onus is on the asylum seeker ultimately to persuade the asylum service, Greek doctors or the United Nations Refugee Agency that they are especially vulnerable.

    The ensuing scramble to get out of Moria has turned the camp into a vast “vulnerability contest,” said Poularakis. It is a ruthless competition that the most heavily traumatized are often in no condition to understand, let alone win.

    Twice a Refugee

    Mosa arrived at Moria in October 2017 and spent his first night in Europe sleeping rough outside the arrivals tent. While he slept someone stole his phone. When he awoke he was more worried about the lost phone than disputing the decision of the Frontex officer who registered him as an adult. Poularakis said age assessors are on the lookout for adults claiming to be children, but “if you say you’re an adult, no one is going to object.”

    Being a child has never afforded Mosa any protection in the past: He did not understand that his entire future could be at stake. Smugglers often warn refugee children not to reveal their real age, telling them that they will be prevented from traveling further if they do not pretend to be over 18 years old.

    Like many other Hazara of his generation, Mosa was born in Iran, the child of refugees who fled Afghanistan. Sometimes called “the cursed people,” the Hazara are followers of Shia Islam and an ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan, a country whose wars are usually won by larger ethnic groups and followers of Sunni Islam. Their ancestry, traced by some historians to Genghis Khan, also means they are highly visible and have been targets for persecution by Afghan warlords from 19th-century Pashtun kings to today’s Taliban.

    In recent decades, millions of Hazara have fled Afghanistan, many of them to Iran, where their language, Dari, is a dialect of Persian Farsi, the country’s main language.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    Iran hosts 950,000 Afghan refugees who are registered with the U.N. and another 1.5 million undocumented Afghans. There are no official refugee camps, making displaced Afghans one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world. For those without the money to pay bribes, there is no route to permanent residency or citizenship. Most refugees survive without papers on the outskirts of cities such as the capital, Tehran. Those who received permits, before Iran stopped issuing them altogether in 2007, must renew them annually. The charges are unpredictable and high. Mostly, the Afghan Hazara survive as an underclass, providing cheap labor in workshops and constructions sites. This was how Mosa grew up.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    But he could not remain invisible forever and one day in October 2016, on his way home from work, he was detained by police for not having papers.

    Sitting in one of the cantinas opposite the entrance to Moria, Mosa haltingly explained what happened next. How he was threatened with prison in Iran or deportation to Afghanistan, a country in which he has never set foot. How he was told that that the only way out was to agree to fight in Syria – for which they would pay him and reward him with legal residence in Iran.

    “In Iran, you have to pay for papers,” said Mosa. “If you don’t pay, you don’t have papers. I do not know Afghanistan. I did not have a choice.”

    As he talked, Mosa spread out a sheaf of papers from a battered plastic wallet. Along with asylum documents was a small notepad decorated with pink and mauve elephants where he keeps the phone numbers of friends and family. It also contains a passport-sized green booklet with the crest of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a temporary residence permit. Inside its shiny cover is the photograph of a scared-looking boy, whom the document claims was born 27 years ago. It is the only I.D. he has ever owned and the date of birth has been faked to hide the fact that the country that issues it has been sending children to war.

    Mosa is not alone among the Hazara boys who have arrived in Greece seeking protection, carrying identification papers with inflated ages. Refugees Deeply has documented the cases of three Hazara child soldiers and corroborated their accounts with testimony from two other underage survivors. Their stories are of childhoods twice denied: once in Syria, where they were forced to fight, and then again after fleeing to Europe, where they are caught up in a system more focused on hard borders than on identifying the most damaged and vulnerable refugees.

    From Teenage Kicks to Adult Nightmares

    Karim’s descent into hell began with a prank. Together with a couple of friends, he recorded an angsty song riffing on growing up as a Hazara teenager in Tehran. Made when he was 16 years old, the song was meant to be funny. His band did not even have a name. The boys uploaded the track on a local file-sharing platform in 2014 and were as surprised as anyone when it was downloaded thousands of times. But after the surprise came a creeping sense of fear. Undocumented Afghan refugee families living in Tehran usually try to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Karim tried to have the song deleted, but after two months there was a knock on the door. It was the police.

    “I asked them how they found me,” he said. “I had no documents but they knew where I lived.”

    Already estranged from his family, the teenager was transported from his life of working in a pharmacy and staying with friends to life in a prison outside the capital. After two weeks inside, he was given three choices: to serve a five-year sentence; to be deported to Afghanistan; or to redeem himself by joining the Fatemiyoun.

    According to Iranian propaganda, the Fatemiyoun are Afghan volunteers deployed to Syria to protect the tomb of Zainab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad. In reality, the Fatemiyoun Brigade is a unit of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, drawn overwhelmingly from Hazara communities, and it has fought in Iraq and Yemen, as well as Syria. Some estimates put its full strength at 15,000, which would make it the second-largest foreign force in support of the Assad regime, behind the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah.

    Karim was told he would be paid and given a one-year residence permit during leave back in Iran. Conscripts are promised that if they are “martyred,” their family will receive a pension and permanent status. “I wasn’t going to Afghanistan and I wasn’t going to prison,” said Karim. So he found himself forced to serve in the #Fatemiyoun.

    His first taste of the new life came when he was transferred to a training base outside Tehran, where the recruits, including other children, were given basic weapons training and religious indoctrination. They marched, crawled and prayed under the brigade’s yellow flag with a green arch, crossed by assault rifles and a Koranic phrase: “With the Help of God.”

    “Imagine me at 16,” said Karim. “I have no idea how to kill a bird. They got us to slaughter animals to get us ready. First, they prepare your brain to kill.”

    The 16-year-old’s first deployment was to Mosul in Iraq, where he served four months. When he was given leave back in Iran, Karim was told that to qualify for his residence permit he would need to serve a second term, this time in Syria. They were first sent into the fight against the so-called Islamic State in Raqqa. Because of his age and physique, Karim and some of the other underage soldiers were moved to the medical corps. He said that there were boys as young as 14 and he remembers a 15-year-old who fought using a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    “I knew nothing about Syria. I was just trying to survive. They were making us hate ISIS, dehumanizing them. Telling us not to leave one of them alive.” Since media reports revealed the existence of the Fatemiyoun, the brigade has set up a page on Facebook. Among pictures of “proud volunteers,” it shows stories of captured ISIS prisoners being fed and cared for. Karim recalls a different story.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    The casualties on both sides were overwhelming. At the al-Razi hospital in Aleppo, the young medic saw the morgue overwhelmed with bodies being stored two or three to a compartment. Despite promises to reward the families of martyrs, Karim said many of the bodies were not sent back to Iran.

    Mosa’s basic training passed in a blur. A shy boy whose parents had divorced when he was young and whose father became an opium addict, he had always shrunk from violence. He never wanted to touch the toy guns that other boys played with. Now he was being taught to break down, clean and fire an assault rifle.

    The trainees were taken three times a day to the imam, who preached to them about their holy duty and the iniquities of ISIS, often referred to as Daesh.

    “They told us that Daesh was the same but worse than the Taliban,” said Mosa. “I didn’t listen to them. I didn’t go to Syria by choice. They forced me to. I just needed the paper.”

    Mosa was born in 2001. Before being deployed to Syria, the recruits were given I.D. tags and papers that deliberately overstated their age: In 2017, Human Rights Watch released photographs of the tombstones of eight Afghan children who had died in Syria and whose families identified them as having been under 18 years old. The clerk who filled out Mosa’s forms did not trouble himself with complex math: He just changed 2001 to 1991. Mosa was one of four underage soldiers in his group. The boys were scared – their hands shook so hard they kept dropping their weapons. Two of them were dead within days of reaching the front lines.

    “I didn’t even know where we were exactly, somewhere in the mountains in a foreign country. I was scared all the time. Every time I saw a friend dying in front of my eyes I was thinking I would be next,” said Mosa.

    He has flashbacks of a friend who died next to him after being shot in the face by a sniper. After the incident, he could not sleep for four nights. The worst, he said, were the sudden raids by ISIS when they would capture Fatemiyoun fighters: “God knows what happened to them.”

    Iran does not release figures on the number of Fatemiyoun casualties. In a rare interview earlier this year, a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard suggested as many as 1,500 Fatemiyoun had been killed in Syria. In Mashhad, an Iranian city near the border with Afghanistan where the brigade was first recruited, video footage has emerged of families demanding the bodies of their young men believed to have died in Syria. Mosa recalls patrols in Syria where 150 men and boys would go out and only 120 would return.

    Escaping Syria

    Abbas had two weeks left in Syria before going back to Iran on leave. After 10 weeks in what he describes as a “living hell,” he had begun to believe he might make it out alive. It was his second stint in Syria and, still only 17 years old, he had been chosen to be a paramedic, riding in the back of a 2008 Chevrolet truck converted into a makeshift ambulance.

    He remembers thinking that the ambulance and the hospital would have to be better than the bitter cold of the front line. His abiding memory from then was the sound of incoming 120mm shells. “They had a special voice,” Abbas said. “And when you hear it, you must lie down.”

    Following 15 days of nursing training, during which he was taught how to find a vein and administer injections, he was now an ambulance man, collecting the dead and wounded from the battlefields on which the Fatemiyoun were fighting ISIS.

    Abbas grew up in Ghazni in Afghanistan, but his childhood ended when his father died from cancer in 2013. Now the provider for the family, he traveled with smugglers across the border into Iran, to work for a tailor in Tehran who had known his father. He worked without documents and faced the same threats as the undocumented Hazara children born in Iran. Even more dangerous were the few attempts he made to return to Ghazni. The third time he attempted to hop the border he was captured by Iranian police.

    Abbas was packed onto a transport, along with 23 other children, and sent to Ordugah-i Muhaceran, a camplike detention center outside Mashhad. When they got there the Shia Hazara boys were separated from Sunni Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, who were pushed back across the border. Abbas was given the same choice as Karim and Mosa before him: Afghanistan or Syria. Many of the other forced recruits Abbas met in training, and later fought alongside in Syria, were addicts with a history of substance abuse.

    Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that Tramadol was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time.

    The Fatemiyoun officers dealt with withdrawal symptoms by handing out Tramadol, an opioid painkiller that is used to treat back pain but sometimes abused as a cheap alternative to methadone. The drug is a slow-release analgesic. Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that it was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time. One of the children reiterated that the painkiller meant he felt nothing. Users describe feeling intensely thirsty but say they avoid drinking water because it triggers serious nausea and vomiting. Tramadol is addictive and prolonged use can lead to insomnia and seizures.

    Life in the ambulance had not met Abbas’ expectations. He was still sent to the front line, only now it was to collect the dead and mutilated. Some soldiers shot themselves in the feet to escape the conflict.

    “We picked up people with no feet and no hands. Some of them were my friends,” Abbas said. “One man was in small, small pieces. We collected body parts I could not recognize and I didn’t know if they were Syrian or Iranian or Afghan. We just put them in bags.”

    Abbas did not make it to the 12th week. One morning, driving along a rubble-strewn road, his ambulance collided with an anti-tank mine. Abbas’ last memory of Syria is seeing the back doors of the vehicle blasted outward as he was thrown onto the road.

    When he awoke he was in a hospital bed in Iran. He would later learn that the Syrian ambulance driver had been killed and that the other Afghan medic in the vehicle had lost both his legs. At the time, his only thought was to escape.

    The Toll on Child Soldiers

    Alice Roorda first came into contact with child soldiers in 2001 in the refugee camps of Sierra Leone in West Africa. A child psychologist, she was sent there by the United Kingdom-based charity War Child. She was one of three psychologists for a camp of more than 5,000 heavily traumatized survivors of one of West Africa’s more brutal conflicts.

    “There was almost nothing we could do,” she admitted.

    The experience, together with later work in Uganda, has given her a deep grounding in the effects of war and post-conflict trauma on children. She said prolonged exposure to conflict zones has physical as well as psychological effects.

    “If you are chronically stressed, as in a war zone, you have consistently high levels of the two basic stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol.”

    Even after reaching a calmer situation, the “stress baseline” remains high, she said. This impacts everything from the immune system to bowel movements. Veterans often suffer from complications related to the continual engagement of the psoas, or “fear muscle” – the deepest muscles in the body’s core, which connect the spine, through the pelvis, to the femurs.

    “With prolonged stress you start to see the world around you as more dangerous.” The medial prefrontal cortex, the section of the brain that interprets threat levels, is also affected, said Roorda. This part of the brain is sometimes called the “watchtower.”

    “When your watchtower isn’t functioning well you see everything as more dangerous. You are on high alert. This is not a conscious response; it is because the stress is already so close to the surface.”

    Psychological conditions that can be expected to develop include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Left untreated, these stress levels can lead to physical symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME) to high blood pressure or irritable bowel syndrome. Also common are heightened sensitivity to noise and insomnia.

    The trauma of war can also leave children frozen at the point when they were traumatized. “Their life is organized as if the trauma is still ongoing,” said Roorda. “It is difficult for them to take care of themselves, to make rational well informed choices, and to trust people.”

    The starting point for any treatment of child soldiers, said Roorda, is a calm environment. They need to release the tension with support groups and physical therapy, she said, and “a normal bedtime.”

    The Dutch psychologist, who is now based in Athens, acknowledged that what she is describing is the exact opposite of the conditions at #Moria.

    Endgame

    Karim is convinced that his facility for English has saved his life. While most Hazara boys arrive in Europe speaking only Farsi, Karim had taught himself some basic English before reaching Greece. As a boy in Tehran he had spent hours every day trying to pick up words and phrases from movies that he watched with subtitles on his phone. His favorite was The Godfather, which he said he must have seen 25 times. He now calls English his “safe zone” and said he prefers it to Farsi.

    When Karim reached Greece in March 2016, new arrivals were not yet confined to the islands. No one asked him if he was a child or an adult. He paid smugglers to help him escape Iran while on leave from Syria and after crossing through Turkey landed on Chios. Within a day and a half, he had passed through the port of Piraeus and reached Greece’s northern border with Macedonia, at Idomeni.

    When he realized the border was closed, he talked to some of the international aid workers who had come to help at the makeshift encampment where tens of thousands of refugees and migrants waited for a border that would not reopen. They ended up hiring him as a translator. Two years on, his English is now much improved and Karim has worked for a string of international NGOs and a branch of the Greek armed forces, where he was helped to successfully apply for asylum.

    The same job has also brought him to Moria. He earns an above-average salary for Greece and at first he said that his work on Lesbos is positive: “I’m not the only one who has a shitty background. It balances my mind to know that I’m not the only one.”

    But then he admits that it is difficult hearing and interpreting versions of his own life story from Afghan asylum seekers every day at work. He has had problems with depression and suffered flashbacks, “even though I’m in a safe country now.”

    Abbas got the help he needed to win the vulnerability contest. After he was initially registered as an adult, his age assessment was overturned and he was transferred from Moria to a shelter for children on Lesbos. He has since been moved again to a shelter in mainland Greece. While he waits to hear the decision on his protection status, Abbas – like other asylum seekers in Greece – receives 150 euros ($170) a month. This amount needs to cover all his expenses, from food and clothing to phone credit. The money is not enough to cover a regular course of the antidepressant Prozac and the sleeping pills he was prescribed by the psychiatrist he was able to see on Lesbos.

    “I save them for when it gets really bad,” he said.

    Since moving to the mainland he has been hospitalized once with convulsions, but his main worry is the pain in his groin. Abbas underwent a hernia operation in Iran, the result of injuries sustained as a child lifting adult bodies into the ambulance. He has been told that he will need to wait for four months to see a doctor in Greece who can tell him if he needs another operation.

    “I would like to go back to school,” he said. But in reality, Abbas knows that he will need to work and there is little future for an Afghan boy who can no longer lift heavy weights.

    Walking into an Afghan restaurant in downtown Athens – near Victoria Square, where the people smugglers do business – Abbas is thrilled to see Farsi singers performing on the television above the door. “I haven’t been in an Afghan restaurant for maybe three years,” he said to explain his excitement. His face brightens again when he catches sight of Ghormeh sabzi, a herb stew popular in Afghanistan and Iran that reminds him of his mother. “I miss being with them,” he said, “being among my family.”

    When the dish arrives he pauses before eating, taking out his phone and carefully photographing the plate from every angle.

    Mosa is about to mark the end of a full year in Moria. He remains in the same drab tent that reminds him every day of Syria. Serious weight loss has made his long limbs – the ones that made it easier for adults to pretend he was not a child – almost comically thin. His skin is laced with scars, but he refuses to go into detail about how he got them. Mosa has now turned 18 and seems to realize that his best chance of getting help may have gone.

    “Those people who don’t have problems, they give them vulnerability (status),” he said with evident anger. “If you tell them the truth, they don’t help you.”

    Then he apologises for the flash of temper. “I get upset and angry and my body shakes,” he said.

    Mosa explained that now when he gets angry he has learned to remove himself: “Sometimes I stuff my ears with toilet paper to make it quiet.”

    It is 10 months since Mosa had his asylum interview. The questions he expected about his time in the Fatemiyoun never came up. Instead, the interviewers asked him why he had not stayed in Turkey after reaching that country, having run away while on leave in Iran.

    The questions they did ask him point to his likely rejection and deportation. Why, he was asked, was his fear of being persecuted in Afghanistan credible? He told them that he has heard from other Afghan boys that police and security services in the capital, Kabul, were arresting ex-combatants from Syria.

    Like teenagers everywhere, many of the younger Fatemiyoun conscripts took selfies in Syria and posted them on Facebook or shared them on WhatsApp. The images, which include uniforms and insignia, can make him a target for Sunni reprisals. These pictures now haunt him as much as the faces of his dead comrades.

    Meanwhile, the fate he suffered two tours in Syria to avoid now seems to be the most that Europe can offer him. Without any of his earlier anger, he said, “I prefer to kill myself here than go to Afghanistan.”

    #enfants-soldats #syrie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #guerre #conflit #réfugiés_afghans #Afghanistan #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique #trauma #traumatisme #vulnérabilité

    ping @isskein

  • In Uganda’s Refugee Camps, South Sudanese Children Seek the Families They’ve Lost

    On a pale dirt road in the Palorinya refugee camp in northern Uganda, Raida Ijo clung to her 16-year-old son, Charles Abu. They sobbed quietly into each other’s shoulder. They had been separated for 19 months, since the day that fighting broke out between rebels and government troops in their village in South Sudan.

    Charles was halfway through a math class in their village, Andasire, in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state, when the shooting started. He ran for the bush, and after a sleepless night in hiding, set off for the Ugandan border with his younger brother, Seme, 14.

    Their mother, Mrs. Ijo, feeling unwell, had checked herself into a hospital that morning. The boys knew that to try to find her would be too dangerous.

    The two brothers are among 17,600 minors who have crossed the border into Uganda without their parents since the outbreak of South Sudan’s civil war in 2013, according to the United Nations refugee agency. Over the last year, the pace of the conflict and the flow of refugees have slowed, but aid workers say it will take years to reunite splintered families.

    “When it’s already tough just to survive, and you don’t even know if your loved ones are alive, that adds a lot to the burden,” said Joane Holliger, a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross to a program in Uganda, Restoring Family Links. “There are a lot of protection concerns for unaccompanied children — child labor, teenage pregnancy, prostitution, child-headed families — so the quicker we can trace their parents, the better.”

    Over the last two years, 433 unaccompanied minors have been reunited with their parents in Uganda. Worldwide, the International Committee of the Red Cross has opened 99,342 cases as it tries to reunite families.

    In Uganda, the bulk of the work is done by Red Cross volunteers, called tracers, who work weekdays hoping to find missing family members in their allocated section of the camp.

    Agustin Soroba, 27, who was himself separated from his family for five months after being kidnapped, beaten and pressed into labor as an ammunition porter by South Sudanese soldiers, has been working as a tracer since February 2017.

    His area of operation is a series of blocks in Bidi Bidi camp — now Africa’s largest with around 280,000 refugees. On a recent Wednesday, he was doing the rounds of unaccompanied children in his area whose cases were still in progress, and checking on families who had been reunified.

    One visit was to a small mud-built home where Margaret Sitima, 18, has been waiting for over a year to reconnect with her mother, last seen on her way to the hospital in the Ugandan town of Arua, after being badly beaten by soldiers on her journey out of South Sudan.

    Mr. Soroba pressed her for any more details she might have, and told her he would try his best.

    His colleagues urge people to report missing family members. They also hang posters of the missing and run a hotline that allows refugees to phone separated family members.

    One old man called his wife — the first time they had spoken in 14 months — to let her know that he was in Bidi Bidi and that he missed her. A woman in a yellow T-shirt called relatives in South Sudan with the news that her son had been sick but was recovering.

    Many of the unaccompanied children have witnessed extreme violence, adding urgency to the challenge of reunifying them with their families.

    “Many of them are extremely disturbed,” said Richard Talish, 33, an employee of the World Vision charity, who runs a safe space for children in Bidi Bidi camp. “We try to keep them busy, so they’re not always thinking about the past.”

    Mr. Talish said that in art sessions, many children draw scenes of violence.

    Tracing can take time. The Abu brothers’ case illustrates the obstacles to reuniting families split by South Sudan’s war. The boys had no idea of their mother’s whereabouts and whether she was alive. They said their mother did not know her age and could not spell her name, making it harder to locate her. Like many rural South Sudanese, she has never owned a mobile phone or a Facebook account.
    Image

    When one of South Sudan’s three cellphone networks was taken offline in March over unpaid license fees, thousands lost their only means of contact.

    The tracing challenges are exacerbated by the lack of access to a centralized database of refugees in Uganda. A combination of confusion and corruption during refugee registrations, in the early months of the crisis, produced incomplete or erroneous records. Some refugees were registered more than once; others, not at all. Names were misspelled. Some records do not list a specific location within the camps, which sprawl for nearly 100 square miles of northern Uganda scrubland.

    Uganda is carrying out biometric registrations to clarify the number of refugees, following a scandal over inflated figures. Several government officials were suspended.

    Until their parents have been located, unaccompanied children live with foster families in the camps. Some are connected by charitable organizations, such as World Vision, which runs a database of potential foster caregivers, who must be matched by ethnicity and language with the child. Other children live with families they encountered on the road, or at reception areas near the border. Extended families and clans try to fill the gap.

    Florence Knight, 14, was one of six unaccompanied children taken in by a passing refugee family who found them hiding by the roadside near the burning remains of the truck that had taken them toward the border. The vehicle had been ambushed and most of its occupants killed.

    “They’re like my own children now,” said Ms. Knight’s new foster mother, Betty Leila, 32, who now has 13 children, stepchildren or foster children. Many cry at night because of bad dreams.

    A few blocks away, another teenage girl, Betty Abau, is living with a family who found her crying and alone beside a river on their journey to the Ugandan border. She looked down at the floor, wringing her hands as she talked. She had been at school when violence erupted and forced her to flee without her parents.

    “I don’t know if they are alive or dead,” said Ms. Abau.

    She said she had provided all the details she could recall to a tracing officer over a year ago, but had not received any updates. According to Lilias Diria, 32, Betty’s new foster mother, she is one of six unaccompanied children living just in this cluster of half a dozen homes.

    The breakthrough in the Abu brothers’ case finally came after a tip from a man who had recognized one of their relatives in the Palorinya camp, a scattered settlement of 180,000 refugees. Red Cross representatives asked the prime minister’s office — which oversees the refugee program in partnership with the United Nations refugee agency — to run a check for their mother. The search revealed nine people with similar names. A Red Cross tracer then set out to locate each woman, one by one, and found the correct Raida Ijo on the fifth attempt.
    EDITORS’ PICKS
    What Happens to #MeToo When a Feminist Is the Accused?
    The Scientist Who Scrambled Darwin’s Tree of Life
    Beto O’Rourke Dreams of One Texas. Ted Cruz Sees Another Clearly.

    On June 29, more than a year and a half after they last saw their mother, the boys packed their few possessions — clothes, cooking pots, jerrycans, a single rolled-up mattress, three live rabbits — into a Red Cross vehicle and set off on the two-hour drive from their foster home in Rhino camp, to their mother’s ramshackle shelter of sticks, mud and thatch in Palorinya.

    “For a mother not to know where her children are is so hard,” said an overjoyed Mrs. Ijo, who had spent days sitting in an open sided tarpaulin shelter worrying about her missing sons since fleeing to Uganda during a second round of violence in February 2017. “They came from my body. I brought them up. I love them. I didn’t know if I would ever see them again.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/world/africa/south-sudan-refugee-children-uganda.html

  • The Rural Women’s Movement Held a Feminist School, Mobilizes Collective Power to Demand Climate Justice - National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)
    http://www.nape.or.ug/news-events/latest-news/186-the-rural-women-s-movement-held-a-feminist-school-mobilizes-collective-p

    The first ever feminist school in Uganda was held this year in Hoima. During the school, members of the Rural Women’s Movement underlined that land is central to people’s identity, livelihoods and food security. They emphasized that land is central to sustainability – be it cultural, economic or social because it forms the physical basis of sustainability. Therefore, there must be a democratic access to land and land-based resources to ensure sustainability.

    The changing patterns of land-use is perhaps the major problem affecting grassroot women across the country. While land has for a long time been a source of conflict and disagreements between small-holder farmers, communities and clans, the recent wave of dispute is caused by land-rush: foreign investors purchasing or leasing land for mining or monoculture for profit. Communities have been disposed, families disconnected and local farming systems destroyed as government and investors prioritize profits over nature and people.

    This scenario is a reminiscent of the slavery our great-grand fathers experienced centuries ago. But this is a type of slavery of another kind. While in orthodox slavery people were sacrificed to foreigners, in this new slavery, land is sacrificed and local ownership is lost along with local sovereignty. People have become refugees in their own county. Many communities whose land has been taken over by investors are now living in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) without basic human needs (food, safe water, education, health facility among others, and women and children are bearing the brunt.

    #Ouganda #foncier #terres #féminisme #femmes #esclavage #agriculture

  • Today’s Crypto News on Asia — Jun 28th
    https://hackernoon.com/todays-crypto-news-on-asia-jun-28th-6a0b39c8444a?source=rss----3a8144eab

    Binance to launch crypto-fiat exchange in Uganda, #korea’s new Crypto regulation; Messaging App #line to release an exchange; JD working with HuobiWhat Crypto insiders are reading on Asia.Subscribe now? Top NewsBinance is about to launch a crypto-fiat exchange in Uganda, supporting the Ugandan Shilling, alongside major cryptocurrencies. http://bit.ly/2tCsO7wKorea has revealed a new crypto regulatory framework and guidelines pertaining to AML and KYC requirements for crypto exchanges. It’s investigating into three major banks and having banks alert suspicious fund movements to avoid the “kimchi premium” from happening. http://bit.ly/2N5OhOgLine is launching its own exchange supporting 30 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin, at a trading fee of 0.1%. The Japanese messaging (...)

    #china #binance #tech-newsletters

  • The Rise and Fall Of the Watusi - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/1964/02/23/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-watusi.html
    En 1964 le New York Times publie un article sur l’extermination imminente des Tutsi. C’est raconté comme une fatalité qui ne laisse pas de choix aux pauvres nègres victimes de forces plus grandes qu’eux. Dans cette optique il s’agit du destion inexorable du peuple des Tutsi arrivant à la fin de son règne sur le peuple des Hutu qui revendique ses droits. L’article contient quelques informations intéressantes déformées par la vison colonialiste de l’époque.

    ELSPETH HUXLEYFEB. 23, 1964

    FROM the miniature Republic of Rwanda in central Africa comes word of the daily slaughter of a thousand people, the possible extermin­ation of a quarter of a million men, women and children, in what has been called the bloodiest tragedy since Hitler turned on the Jews. The victims are those tall, proud and graceful warrior­aristocrats, the Tutsi, sometimes known as the Watusi.* They are being killed

    *According to the orthography of the Bantu language, “Tutsi” is the singular and “Watutsi” the plural form of the word. For the sake of simplicity. I prefer to follow the style used in United Nations reports and use “Tutsi” for both singular and plural.

    Who are the Tutsi and why is such a ghastly fate overtaking them? Is it simply African tribalism run riot, or are outside influences at work ? Can nothing be done?

    The king‐in‐exile of Rwanda, Mwamni (Monarch) Kigeri V, who has fled to the Congo, is the 41st in line of suc­cession. Every Tutsi can recite the names of his 40 predecessors but the Tutsi cannot say how many centuries ago their ancestors settled in these tumbled hills, deep valleys and vol­canic mountains separating the great

    Nor is it known just where they came from—Ethiopia perhaps; before that, possibly Asia. They are cattle folk, allied in race to such nomadic peo­ples as the Somali, Gatlla, Fulani and Masai. Driving their cattle before them, they found this remote pocket of cen­tral Africa, 1,000 miles from the In­dian Ocean. It was occupied by a race of Negro cultivators called the Hutu, who had themselves displaced the ab­original pygmy hunters, the Twa (or Batwa). First the Tutsi conquered and then ruled the Hutu. much as a ??r‐man ruling class conquered and settled

    In the latest census, the Tutsi con­stitute about 15 per cent of Rwanda’s population of between 2.5 and 3 mil­lion. Apart from a handful of Twa, the rest are Hutu. (The same figures are true of the tiny neighboring king­dom of Burundi.)

    For at least four centuries the Tutsi have kept intact their racial type by inbreeding. Once seen, these elongated men are never forgotten. Their small, narrow heads perched on top of slim and spindly bodies remind one of some of Henry Moore’s sculptures. Their average height, though well above the general norm, is no more than 5 feet 9 inches, but individuals reach more than 7 feet. The former king, Charles III Rudahagwa, was 6 feet 9 inches, and a famous dancer and high jumper—so famous his portrait was printed on the banknotes—measured 7 feet 5 inches.

    THIS height, prized as a badge of racial purity, the Tutsi accentuated by training upward tufts of fuzzy hair shaped like crescent moons. Their leaps, bounds and whirling dances delighted tourists, as their courtesy and polished manners impressed them.

    Through the centuries, Tutsi feudal­ism survived with only minor changes. At its center was the Mwami, believed to be descended from the god of lightning, whose three children fell from heaven onto a hilltop and begat the two royal clans from which the Mwami and his queen were always chosen. Not only had the Mwami rights of life and death over his subjects but, in theory, he owned all the cattle. too — magnificent, long‐horned cattle far superior to the weedy native African bovines. Once a year, these were ceremonially presented to the Mwami in all their glory — horns sand‐polished, coats rubbed with butter, foreheads hung with beads, each beast attended by a youth in bark‐cloth robes who spoke to it softly and caught its dung on a woven straw mat.

    “Rwanda has three pillars.” ran a Tutsi saying: “God, cows and soldiers.” The cows the Mwami distributed among his subchiefs, and they down the line to lesser fry, leaving no adult Tutsi male without cows.

    Indeed, the Tutsi cannot live with­out cattle, for milk and salted butter are their staple food. (Milk is con­sumed in curds; the butter, hot and perfumed by the bark of a certain tree.) To eat foods grown in soil, though often done, is thought vaguely shame­ful, something to be carried out in private.

    THE kingdom was divided into dis­tricts and each had not one governor, but two: a land chief (umunyabutaka) and a cattle chief (umuuyamukenke). The jealousy that nearly always held these two potentates apart prompted them to spy on each other to the Mwami, who was thus able to keep his barons from threatening his own au­thority.

    Below these governors spread a net­work of hill chiefs, and under them again the heads of families. Tribute — milk and butter from the lordly Tutsi, and

    Just as, in medieval Europe, every nobleman sent his son to the king’s court to learn the arts of war, love and civil­ity, so in Rwanda and Burundi did every Tutsi father send his sons to the Mwami’s court for instruction in the use of weapons, in lore and tradition, in dancing and poetry and the art of conversation, in manly sports and in the practice of the most prized Tutsi virtue —self‐control. Ill‐temper and the least display of emotion are thought shameful and vul­gar. The ideal Tutsi male is at all times polite, dignified, amiable, sparing of idle words and a trifle supercilious.

    THESE youths, gathered in the royal compound, were formed into companies which, in turn, formed the army. Each youth owed to his company commander an allegiance which continued all his life. In turn, the commander took the youth, and subsequently the man, under his protection. Every Tutsi could appeal from his hill chief to his army com­mander, who was bound to support him in lawsuits or other troubles. (During battle, no commander could step backward, lest . his army re­treat; at no time could the

    The Hutu were both bound and protected by a system known as buhake, a form of vassalage. A Hutu wanting to enter into this relationship would present a jug of beer to a Tutsi and say: “I ask you for milk. Make me rich. Be my father, and I will be your child.” If the Tutsi agreed, he gave the applicant a cow, or several cows. This sealed the bargain­

    The Hutu then looked to his lord for protection and for such help as contributions to­ward the bride‐price he must proffer for a wife. In return, the Hutu helped from time to time in the work of his pro­tector’s household, brought oc­casional jugs of beer and held himself available for service

    The densely populated king­doms of the Tutsi lay squarely in the path of Arab slavers who for centuries pillaged throughout the central Afri­can highlands, dispatching by the hundreds of thou­sands yoked and helpless hu­man beings to the slave mar­kets of Zanzibar and the Persian Gulf. Here the explor­er Livingstone wrote despair­ingly in his diaries of coffles (caravans) of tormented cap­tives, of burnt villages, slaugh­tered children, raped women and ruined crops. But these little kingdoms, each about the size of Maryland, escaped. The disciplined, courageous Tutsi spearmen kept the Arabs out, and the Hutu safe. Feudalism worked both ways.

    Some Hutu grew rich, and even married their patrons’ daughters. Sexual morality was strict. A girl who became pregnant before marriage was either killed outright or aban­doned on an island in the mid­dle of Lake Kivu to perish, unless rescued by a man of a despised and primitive Congo tribe, to be kept as a beast of burden with no rights.

    SINCE the Tutsi never tilled the soil, their demands for labor were light. Hutu duties included attendance on the lord during his travels; carry­ing messages; helping to re­pair the master’s compound; guarding his cows. The reia­tionsiiip could be ended at any time by either party. A patron had no right to hold an unwilling “client” in his service.

    It has been said that serf­dom in Europe was destroyed by the invention of the horse

    UNTIL the First World War the kingdoms were part of German East Africa. Then Bel­gium took them over, under the name of Ruanda‐Urundi, as a trust territory, first for the League of Nations, then under the U. N. Although the Belgian educational system, based on Roman Catholic mis­sions, was conservative in out­look, and Belgian adminis­trators made no calculated attempt to undo Tutsi feudal­ism, Western ideas inevitably crept in. So did Western eco­nomic notions through the in­troduction of coffee cultiva­tion, which opened to the Hutu a road to independence, by­passing the Tutsi cattle‐based economy. And Belgian authori­ty over Tutsi notables, even over the sacred Mwami him­self, inevitably damaged their prestige. The Belgians even de­posed one obstructive Mwami. About ten years ago, the Belgians tried to persuade the Tutsi to let some of the Hutu into their complex structure of government. In Burundi, the Tutsi ruling caste realized its cuanger just in time and agreed to share some of its powers with the Hutu majority. But in Rwanda, until the day the system toppled, no Hutu was appointed by the Tatsi over­lords to a chief’s position. A tight, rigid, exclusive Tutsi aristocracy continued to rule the land.

    The Hutu grew increasingly

    WHEN order was restored, there were reckoned to be 21,­000 Tutsi refugees in Burundi, 14,000 in Tanganyika, 40,000 in Uganda and 60,000 in the Kivu province of the Con­go. The Red Cross did its best to cope in camps improvised by local governments.

    Back in Rwanda, municipal elections were held for the first time—and swept the Hutu into power. The Parmehutu —Parti d’Emancipation des Hu­tus—founded only in October 1959, emerged on top, formed a coalition government, and after some delays proclaimed a republic, to which the Bel­gians, unwilling to face a colonial war, gave recognition in terms of internal self‐gov­ernment.

    In 1962, the U.N. proclaimed Belgium’s trusteeship at an end, and, that same year, a general election held under U.N. supervision confirmed the Hutu triumph. With full in­dependence, a new chapter be­gan — the Hutu chapter.

    Rwanda and Burundi split. Burundi has the only large city, Usumbura (population: 50,000), as its capital. With a mixed Tutsi‐Hutu govern­ment, it maintains an uneasy peace. It remains a kingdom, with a Tutsi monarch. Every­one knows and likes the jovial Mwami, Mwambutsa IV, whose height is normal, whose rule

    As its President, Rwanda chose Grégoire Kayibanda, a 39‐year‐old Roman Catholic seminarist who, on the verge of ordination, chose politics in­stead. Locally educated by the Dominicans, he is a protégé of the Archbishop of Rwanda whose letter helped spark the first Hutu uprising. Faithful to his priestly training, he shuns the fleshpots, drives a Volkswagen instead of the Rolls or Mercedes generally favored by an African head of state and, suspicious of the lure of wicked cities, lives on a hilltop outside the town of Kigali, said to be the smallest capital city in the world, with some 7,000 inhabitants, a sin­gle paved street, no hotels, no telephone and a more or less permanent curfew.

    Mr. Kayibanda’s Christian and political duties, as he sees them, have fused into an im­placable resolve to destroy for­ever the last shreds of Tutsi power—if necessary by obliter­ating the entire Tutsi race. Last fall, Rwanda still held between 200,000 and 250,000 Tutsi, reinforced by refugees drifting back from the camps, full of bitterness and humilia­tion. In December, they were joined by bands of Tutsi spear­men from Burundi, who with the courage of despair, and outnumbered 10 to 1, attacked the Hutu. Many believe they were egged on by Mwami Ki­geri V, who since 1959 had been fanning Tutsi racial prideand calling for revenue.

    THE result of the attacks was to revive all the cumula­tive hatred of the Tutsi for past injustices. The winds of anti‐colonialism sweeping Af­rica do not distinguish be­tween white and black colo­nialists. The Hutu launched a ruthless war of extermina­tion that is still going on. Tut­si villages are stormed and their inhabitants clubbed or hacked to death, burned alive or herded into crocodile‐infest­ed rivers.

    What will become of the Tutsi? One urgent need is out­side help for the Urundi Gov­ernment in resettling the masses of refugees who have fled to its territory. Urundi’s mixed political set‐up is rea­sonably democratic, if not al­ways peaceful (witness the assassination of the Crown Prince by a political opponent

    In a sense the Tutsi have brought their tragic fate on themselves. They are paying now the bitter price of ostrich­ism, a stubborn refusal to move with the times. The Bourbons of Africa, they are meeting the Bourbon destiny—to be obliterated by the people they have ruled and patron­ized.

    The old relationship could survive no longer in a world, as E. M. Forster has described it, of “telegrams and anger;” a world of bogus democracy turning into one‐party states, of overheated U.N. assemblies, of press reports and dema­gogues, a world where (as in the neighboring Congo) a for­mer Minister of Education leads bands of tribesmen armed with arrows to mutilate women missionaries.

    THE elegant and long‐legged Tutsi with their dances and their epic poetry, their lyre­horned cattle and superb bas­ketwork and code of seemly behavior, had dwindled into tourist fodder. The fate of all species, institutions or individ­uais who will not, or cannot. adapt caught up with them. Those who will not bend must break.

    For the essence of the situ­ation in an Africa increasingly

    NOW, not just the white men have gone, or are going; far more importantly, the eld­ers and their authority, the whole chain of command from ancestral spirits, through the chief and his council to the obedient youth are being swept away. This hierarchy is being replaced by the “young men,” the untried, unsettled, uncer­tain, angry and confused gen­eration who, with a thin ve­neer of ill‐digested Western education, for the first time in Africa’s long history have taken over power from their fathers.

    It is a major revolution in­deed, whose first results are only just beginning to show up and whose outcome cannot be seen. There is only one safe prediction: that it will be vio­lent, unpredictable, bloody and cruel, as it is proving for the doomed Tutsi of Rwanda.

    #Ruanda #Burundi #histoire #Tutsi #Congo

  • What is Uber up to in Africa?
    https://africasacountry.com/2018/04/what-is-uber-up-to-in-africa

    Uber’s usual tricks — to provoke price wars in an attempt to increase their share of markets, evade taxes, and undermine workers’ rights — are alive and well in Africa.

    Technophiles and liberals across the African continent are embracing the ride sharing application Uber. Their services are especially popular with the young urban middle classes. In most African cities, public transport is limited, unpredictable and often dangerous, especially after dark. Uber is also cheaper than meter-taxis. Uber’s mobile application makes taxi rides efficient and easy, and women feel safer since rides are registered and passengers rate their drivers.

    Since 2013, Uber has registered drivers in 15 cities in nine African countries: from Cape to Cairo; from Nairobi to Accra. In October last year, Uber said they had nearly two million active users on the continent. The plans are to expand. While media continues to talk about how Uber creates jobs in African cities suffering from enormous unemployment, the company prefers to couch what they do as partnership: They have registered 29,000 “driver-partners.” However, through my research and work with trade unions in Ghana and Nigeria, and a review of Uber’s practices in the rest of Africa, I found that there are many, including Uber’s own “driver partners,” who have mixed feelings about the company.

    Established taxi drivers rage and mobilize resistance to the company across the continent. While Uber claims to create jobs and opportunities, taxi drivers accuse the company of undermining their already-precarious jobs and their abilities to earn a living wage while having to cope with Uber’s price wars, tax evasion and undermining of labor rights.

    Take Ghana, for example. Uber defines its own prices, but regular taxis in Accra are bound by prices negotiated every six months between the Ghanaian Federation for Private Road Transport (GPRTU) and the government. The negotiated prices are supposed to take into account inflation, but currently negotiations are delayed as fuel prices continues rising. The week before I met Issah Khaleepha, Secretary General of the GRPRTU in February, the union held strikes against fuel price increases. Uber’s ability to set its own price gives it a distinct advantage in this environment.

    Like in most African countries the taxi industry in Ghana is part of the informal economy. Informality, however, is not straightforward. Accra’s taxis are licensed, registered commercial cars, marked by yellow license plates and painted in the same colors. Drivers pay taxes. Uber cars are registered as private vehicles, marked by white license plates, which gives them access to areas that are closed to commercial vehicles, such as certain hotels.

    Uber is informalizing through the backdoor and pushing a race to the bottom, says Yaaw Baah, the Secretary General of the Ghana Trade Union Congress (Ghana TUC). The Ghana TUC, the Ghanaian Employers Association (GEA) and the government all support the International Labor Organization’s formalization agenda, which says that the formalization of informal economy will ensure workers’ rights and taxes owed to governments.

    The fault lines in Uber’s business model have been exposed in other parts of the continent as well. In Lagos, Uber cut prices by 40% in 2017, prompting drivers to go on strike. Drivers have to give up 25 percent of their income to Uber, and most drivers have to pay rent to the car owners. Many drivers left Uber for the Estonian competitor, Taxify, which takes 15 percent of revenues. In February 2017, an informal union of Nairobi drivers forced Uber to raise their fares from 200 Kenyan Shillings to 300 (from 33 to 39 cents) per kilometer; yet still a far cry from a foundation for a living wage.

    In Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, the fragmented and self-regulated taxi industry is associated with violence, conflicts and criminal networks. There are reports of frequent violence and threats to Uber drivers. So-called taxi wars in South Africa, which began in the 1980s, have turned into “Uber wars.” In South African, xenophobia adds fuel to the fire sine many Uber drivers are immigrants from Zimbabwe or other African countries. In Johannesburg two Uber cars were burned. Uber drivers have been attacked and killed in Johannesburg and Nairobi.

    The fragmentation and informality of the transport industry makes workers vulnerable and difficult to organize. However, examples of successes in transportation labor organizing in the past in some African countries, show that it is necessary in order to confront the challenges of the transportation sectors on the continent.

    A decade ago, CESTRAR, the Rwandan trade union confederation, organized Kigali motorcycle taxis (motos) in cooperatives that are platforms from where to organize during price negotiations, and to enable tax payment systems.

    For Uganda’s informal transport workers, unionization has had a dramatic impact. In 2006, the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union in Uganda, ATGWU, counted only 2000 members. By incorporating informal taxi and motorcycle taxes’ (boda-boda) associations, ATGWU now has over 80,000 members. For the informal drivers, union membership has ensured freedom of assembly and given them negotiating power. The airport taxis bargained for a collective agreement that standardized branding for the taxis, gave them an office and sales counter in the arrivals hall, a properly organized parking and rest area, uniforms and identity cards. A coordinated strike brought Kampala to a standstill and forced political support from President Yoweri Museveni against police harassment and political interference.

    South Africa is currently the only country in Africa with a lawsuit against Uber. There, 4,000 Uber drivers joined the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, SATAWU, who supported them in a court case to claim status as employees with rights and protection against unfair termination. They won the first round, but lost the appeal in January 2018. The judge stressed that the case was lost on a technicality. The drivers have since jumped from SATAWU to National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw), and they will probably go to court again.

    Taxi operators don’t need to join Uber or to abandon labor rights in order get the efficiency and safety advantages of the technology. In some countries, local companies have developed technology adapted to local conditions. In Kigali in 2015, SafeMotos launched an application described as a mix of Uber and a traffic safety application. In Kenya, Maramoja believes their application provides better security than Uber. Through linking to social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you can see who of your contacts have used and recommend drivers. In Ethiopia, which doesn’t allow Uber, companies have developed technology for slow or no internet, and for people without smartphones.

    Still, even though the transport sector in Ethiopia has been “walled off” from foreign competition, and Uber has been kept out of the local market, it is done so in the name of national economic sovereignty rather than protection of workers’ rights. By contrast, the South African Scoop-A-Cab is developed to ensure “that traditional metered taxi owners are not left out in the cold and basically get with the times.” Essentially, customers get the technological benefits, taxis companies continues to be registered, drivers pay taxes and can be protected by labor rights. It is such a mix of benefits that may point in the direction of a more positive transportation future on the continent.

    #Uber #Disruption #Afrika

  • Alerte #santé_publique
    https://www.globalhealthnow.org

    Je me suis abonné avec le temps à des tas de newsletters et de flus rss pour suivre les questions de santé publique. Beaucoup trop, et désormais la newsletter GHN semble me donner tout ce dont j’ai besoin (et même sans doute trop).

    Exemple ce matin :

    Reservoir Dogs
    A vaccine used to treat dogs with leishmaniasis could help stop the disease’s spread to humans, University of Iowa researchers found.

    The strain of Uganda’s cholera outbreak is compounded by the flood of 70,000 Congolese refugees who’ve arrived this year, sharing crowded quarters where disease spreads easily. The International Federation of Red Cross

    Some recruiters make birth control mandatory for Sri Lankan women seeking work in the Middle East, desperate to support their families amid civil war at home. The Guardian

    Ireland’s measles outbreak has swelled to 40 confirmed cases after beginning in Limerick in January; an outbreak control team has been deployed. TheJournal.ie

    Over 200 previously unknown viruses found in fish, frogs and reptiles have been unveiled by researchers; they date back hundreds of millions of years to the advent of modern animals. Nature

    A Harder Death for People with Intellectual Disabilities – The New York Times

    Facebook sent a doctor on a secret mission to ask hospitals to share patient data – CNBC

    2018 March for Science will be far more than street protests – Science

    Clinical trials may be based on flimsy animal data – Science

    How The NRA Worked To Stifle Gun Violence Research – NPR’s Here & Now

    Negative fateful life events and the brains of middle-aged men – University of California - San Diego via ScienceDaily

    Solving Japan’s Fertility Crisis – IPS

    In Detroit, Baby Steps to Better Births – US News

    Why I did a vasectomy: Kerala man’s post on family planning is a must-read – The News Minute

    Taboo talk in Mali marriages overlaps with healthy choices – Futurity

    The Controversial Process of Redesigning the Wheelchair Symbol – Atlas Obscura

    #veille #ressources

  • Estudio indica que Venezuela, Nicaragua y Brasil son democracias amenazadas
    http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/politica/estudio-indica-que-venezuela-nicaragua-brasil-son-democracias-amenazada

    La regresión autoritaria en Nicaragua, el endurecimiento de la autocracia en Venezuela y la inestabilidad en Brasil son los casos que ilustran de forma ejemplar los crecientes peligros para las democracias en América Latina, advierte el Índice de Transformación (BTI) presentado este jueves por la Fundación Bertelsmann.

    El informe, que analiza la calidad de las democracias, la economía de mercado y la gobernanza en 129 países en desarrollo y emergentes, constata que Nicaragua forma, junto con Bangladesh, Líbano, Mozambique y Uganda, el grupo de cinco países entre los 13 «perdedores» del índice que viven una regresión a la autocracia.

    El punto culminante de esta regresión tuvo lugar cuatro meses antes de las elecciones de 2016 con la destitución decretada por el Tribunal Supremo del líder del principal partido de la oposición y candidato a la presidencia, lo que hizo que por primera vez desde 1990 se celebrase unas elecciones sin candidato alternativo y Daniel Ortega pudiera así permanecer en el cargo.

    Destaca también en el período de estudio, que abarca entre el 1° de febrero de 2015 y el 31 de enero de 2017, el agravamiento de la situación política en Venezuela, "país inmerso en una dinámica de radicalización durante marzo y julio de 2017" y en el que «se ha agravado de forma dramática la situación de los Derechos Humanos».

    De acuerdo con el informe, la situación en Venezuela representa incluso “una declaración de quiebra del socialismo del siglo XXI”, con un país que “apenas se preocupó de procurar alternativas a la dependencia del petróleo” y donde la pobreza volvió a impactar con fuerza «después de dos décadas de un derrochador populismo rentista».

    La victoria aplastante de la oposición en los comicios parlamentarios de 2015, agrega el documento, ha conducido a que el régimen de Nicolás Maduro mantenga su curso con aún más dureza.

    En tanto, en Brasil, ejemplo del «descalabro de una futura superpotencia», se percibe claramente una pérdida de la calidad de la democracia, relacionada según el informe con la “dudosa destitución” de Dilma Rouseff, «iniciado por políticos corruptos», que en mayo de 2016 aupó a Michel Temer al poder.

    Al mismo tiempo, el informe alude al Latinobarómetro 2016, según el cual el 55 % de la población de Brasil no rechazaría un régimen autoritario, siempre que dé solución a los problemas económicos.

    Esta tendencia a la «desconsolidación de la democracia» en Brasil no es un caso aislado y se observa en toda la región, donde la aprobación de la democracia por parte de la ciudadanía ha disminuido visiblemente desde el informe de 2010, constata el BTI.

  • Israel’s big lie revealed: Deported asylum seekers in Uganda lament broken promises and a grim future

    Haaretz met with deported asylum seekers who were left with no papers or work permits; they can’t even enter refugee camps as they have no status. One option is to risk death and head for Europe
    By Uzi Dann (Kampala, Uganda) Mar 04, 2018

    KAMPALA, Uganda – It’s around noon in Uganda’s capital Kampala. The streets are bustling and traffic is heavy. Meles looks out of place, and he certainly feels it. “I don’t have a future here,” he tells Haaretz. “I have no hope, no job. My life is ruined.”
    He’s a relative newcomer here. He has been here for around two and a half months and says it’s just a matter of time until he’s on the road again. “I’m already 31 and prefer to try my luck elsewhere rather than live this way, God willing,” he says, pointing upward and not at the two crosses on his chest. “This time I’ll be lucky.”
    The last time he tried his luck nearly a decade ago he deserted his unlimited military service in the Eritrean army and started walking north. Ultimately he reached Israel, where he lived for more than seven and a half years, from the beginning of 2010 until last November. Then he was forced to “leave voluntarily.”

    In addition to the threat of prison if he didn’t leave, there was the $3,500 that Israel gave and the laissez-passer document, ensuring him legal status in a third country and the right to work. There were also verbal assurances that things would be all right – that he’d be able to make a living and integrate into his new country.
    Soon after Meles landed at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport, he discovered there wasn’t much substance to the assurances, not even a way to contact the government clerk who sent him there. And regarding the documents, someone in Uganda was there to take them away from him as soon as he landed.
    Haaretz on the ground in Uganda - דלג

    Haaretz has heard this story repeatedly from former asylum seekers in Israel who went to Rwanda (and from there took a circuitous path to neighboring Uganda), and from those whose airplane ticket took them straight to Entebbe. Haaretz met with more than 15 of them in Kampala and spoke with several others by phone. No Israeli official contacted them once they had left Israel, or took any interest in them once they had reached Africa.
    Meles has no documents and no job, and has no status in Uganda letting him work. He has spent some of the $3,500, and it looks like the rest will be gone soon. He regrets that he didn’t opt for the Holot detention center in the south.

    Meles in Kampala. Uzi Dan
    “It would be better to be in jail in Israel, where at least I would get food,” he says, adding that he advises asylum seekers still in Israel not to accept the offer of passage to a third country.
    Meles’ Hebrew is excellent, an indication that he adjusted well during his seven and a half years in Israel. He worked three years for one employer and four years for another, the owner of a grocery store near Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market. From the very beginning he tried to obtain legal status in Israel.
    When he arrived at the Saharonim detention facility in 2010, he gave details about his travails. He repeated them a month later when he left Saharonim and was granted a temporary visa. And he repeated them five years later when he submitted an asylum request. Like many others, he never received an answer on his request, but around that time he was told that his residence visa would not be renewed.