region:south sudan



  • And Yet We Move - 2018, a Contested Year

    Alarm Phone 6 Week Report, 12 November - 23 December 2018

    311 people escaping from Libya rescued through a chain of solidarity +++ About 113,000 sea arrivals and over 2,240 counted fatalities in the Mediterranean this year +++ 666 Alarm Phone distress cases in 2018 +++ Developments in all three Mediterranean regions +++ Summaries of 38 Alarm Phone distress cases

    Introduction

    “There are no words big enough to describe the value of the work you are doing. It is a deeply human act and it will never be forgotten. The whole of your team should know that we wish all of you health and a long life and the best wishes in all the colours of the world.” These are the words that the Alarm Phone received a few days ago from a man who had been on a boat in the Western Mediterranean Sea and with whom our shift teams had stayed in touch throughout the night until they were finally rescued to Spain. He was able to support the other travellers by continuously and calmly reassuring them, and thereby averted panic on the boat. His message motivates us to continue also in 2019 to do everything we can to assist people who have taken to the sea because Europe’s border regime has closed safe and legal routes, leaving only the most dangerous paths slightly open. On these paths, over 2,240 people have lost their lives this year.

    While we write this report, 311 people are heading toward Spain on the rescue boat of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms. The travellers called the Alarm Phone when they were on a boat-convoy that had left from Libya. Based on the indications of their location, Al-Khums, the civil reconnaissance aircraft Colibri launched a search operation in the morning of the 21st of December and was able to spot the convoy of three boats which were then rescued by Proactiva. Italy and Malta closed their harbours to them, prolonging their suffering. Over the Christmas days they headed toward their final destination in Spain. The successful rescue operation of the 313 people (one mother and her infant child were flown out by a helicopter after rescue) highlights the chain of solidarity that activists and NGOs have created in the Central Mediterranean Sea. It is a fragile chain that the EU and its member states seek to criminalise and tear apart wherever they can.

    Throughout the year of 2018, we have witnessed and assisted contested movements across the Mediterranean Sea. Despite violent deterrence policies and practices, about 113,000 people succeeded in subverting maritime borders and have arrived in Europe by boat. We were alerted to 666 distress situations at sea (until December 23rd), and our shift teams have done their best to assist the many thousands of people who saw no other option to realise their hope for a better future than by risking their lives at sea. Many of them lost their lives in the moment of enacting their freedom of movement. Over 2,240 women, men, and children from the Global South – and probably many more who were never counted – are not with us anymore because of the violence inscribed in the Global North’s hegemonic and brutal borders. They were not able to get a visa. They could not board a much cheaper plane, bus, or ferry to reach a place of safety and freedom. Many travelled for months, even years, to get anywhere near the Mediterranean border – and on their journeys they have lived through hardships unimaginable for most of us. But they struggled on and reached the coasts of Northern Africa and Turkey, where they got onto overcrowded boats. That they are no longer with us is a consequence of Europe’s racist system of segregation that illegalises and criminalises migration, a system that also seeks to illegalise and criminalise solidarity. Many of these 2,240 people would be alive if the civil rescuers were not prevented from doing their work. All of them would be alive, if they could travel and cross borders freely.

    In the different regions of the Mediterranean Sea, the situation has further evolved over the course of 2018, and the Alarm Phone witnessed the changing patterns of boat migration first hand. Most of the boats we assisted were somewhere between Morocco and Spain (480), a considerable number between Turkey and Greece (159), but comparatively few between Libya and Italy (27). This, of course, speaks to the changing dynamics of migratory escape and its control in the different regions:

    Morocco-Spain: Thousands of boats made it across the Strait of Gibraltar, the Alboran Sea, or the Atlantic and have turned Spain into the ‘front-runner’ this year with about 56,000 arrivals by sea. In 2017, 22,103 people had landed in Spain, 8,162 in 2016. In the Western Mediterranean, crossings are organised in a rather self-organised way and the number of arrivals speaks to a migratory dynamism not experienced for over a decade in this region. Solidarity structures have multiplied both in Morocco and Spain and they will not be eradicated despite the wave of repression that has followed the peak in crossings over the summer. Several Alarm Phone members experienced the consequences of EU pressure on the Moroccan authorities to repress cross-border movements first hand when they were violently deported to the south of Morocco, as were several thousand others.

    Turkey-Greece: With about 32,000 people reaching the Greek islands by boat, more people have arrived in Greece than in 2017, when 29,718 people did so. After arrival via the sea, many are confined in inhumane conditions on the islands and the EU hotspots have turned into rather permanent prisons. This desperate situation has prompted renewed movements across the Turkish-Greek land border in the north. Overall, the number of illegalised crossings into Greece has risen due to more than 20,000 people crossing the land border. Several cases of people experiencing illegal push-back operations there reached the Alarm Phone over the year.

    Libya-Italy/Malta: Merely about 23,000[1] people have succeeded in fleeing Libya via the sea in 2018. The decrease is dramatic, from 119,369 in 2017, and even 181,436 in 2016. This decrease gives testament to the ruthlessness of EU deterrence policies that have produced the highest death rate in the Central Mediterranean and unspeakable suffering among migrant communities in Libya. Libyan militias are funded, trained, and legitimated by their EU allies to imprison thousands of people in camps and to abduct those who made it onto boats back into these conditions. Due to the criminalisation of civil rescuers, a lethal rescue gap was produced, with no NGO able to carry out their work for many months of the year. Fortunately, three of them have now been able to return to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean.

    These snapshots of the developments in the three Mediterranean regions, elaborated on in greater detail below, give an idea of the struggles ahead of us. They show how the EU and its member states not only created dangerous maritime paths in the first place but then reinforced its migrant deterrence regime at any cost. They show, however, also how thousands could not be deterred from enacting their freedom of movement and how solidarity structures have evolved to assist their precarious movements. We go into 2019 with the promise and call that the United4Med alliance of sea rescuers has outlined: “We will prove how civil society in action is not only willing but also able to bring about a new Europe; saving lives at sea and creating a just reception system on land. Ours is a call to action to European cities, mayors, citizens, societies, movements, organisations and whoever believes in our mission, to join us. Join our civil alliance and let us stand up together, boldly claiming a future of respect and equality. We will stand united for the right to stay and for the right to go.”[2] Also in the new year, the Alarm Phone will directly engage in this struggle and we call on others to join. It can only be a collective fight, as the odds are stacked against us.

    Developments in the Central Mediterranean

    In December 2018, merely a few hundred people were able to escape Libya by boat. It cannot be stressed enough how dramatic the decrease in crossings along this route is – a year before, 2,327 people escaped in December, in 2016 even 8,428. 2018 is the year when Europe’s border regime ‘succeeded’ in largely shutting down the Central Mediterranean route. It required a combination of efforts – the criminalisation of civil search and rescue organisations, the selective presence of EU military assets that were frequently nowhere to be found when boats were in distress, the closure of Italian harbours and the unwillingness of other EU member states to welcome the rescued, and, most importantly, the EU’s sustained support for the so-called Libyan coastguards and other Libyan security forces. Europe has not only paid but also trained, funded and politically legitimised Libyan militias whose only job is to contain outward migratory movements, which means capturing and abducting people seeking to flee to Europe both at sea and on land. Without these brutal allies, it would not have been possible to reduce the numbers of crossings that dramatically.

    The ‘Nivin case’ of November 7th exemplifies this European-Libyan alliance. On that day, a group of 95 travellers reached out to the Alarm Phone from a boat in distress off the coast of Libya. Among them were people from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Eritrea. Italy refused to conduct a rescue operation and eventually they were rescued by the cargo vessel Nivin. Despite telling the rescued that they would be brought to a European harbour, the crew of the Nivin returned them to Libya on November 10th. At the harbour of Misrata, most of the rescued refused to disembark, stating that they would not want to be returned into conditions of confinement and torture. The people, accused by some to be ‘pirates’, fought bravely against forced disembarkation for ten days but on the 20th of November they could resist no longer when Libyan security forces stormed the boat and violently removed them, using tear gas and rubber bullets in the process. Several of the protestors were injured and needed treatment in hospital while others were returned into inhumane detention camps.[3]

    Also over the past 6 weeks, the period covered in this report, the criminalisation of civil rescue organisations continued. The day that the protestors on the Nivin were violently removed, Italy ordered the seizure of the Aquarius, the large rescue asset operated by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières that had already been at the docs in France for some time, uncertain about its future mission. According to the Italian authorities, the crew had falsely labelled the clothes rescued migrants had left on the Aquarius as ‘special’ rather than ‘toxic’ waste.[4] The absurdity of the accusation highlights the fact that Italy’s authorities seek out any means to prevent rescues from taking place, a “disproportionate and unfounded measure, purely aimed at further criminalising lifesaving medical-humanitarian action at sea”, as MSF noted.[5] Unfortunately, these sustained attacks showed effect. On the 6th of December, SOS Med and MSF announced the termination of its mission: “European policies and obstruction tactics have forced [us] to terminate the lifesaving operations carried out by the search and rescue vessel Aquarius.” As the MSF general director said: “This is a dark day. Not only has Europe failed to provide search and rescue capacity, it has also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives. The end of Aquarius means more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed.”[6]

    And yet, despite this ongoing sabotage of civil rescue from the EU and its member states, three vessels of the Spanish, German, and Italian organisations Open Arms, Sea-Watch and Mediterranea returned to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean in late November.[7] This return is also significance for Alarm Phone work in the Central Mediterranean: once again we have non-governmental allies at sea who will not only document what is going on along the deadliest border of the world but actively intervene to counter Europe’s border ‘protection’ measures. Shortly after returning, one of the NGOs was called to assist. Fishermen had rescued a group of travellers off the coast of Libya onto their fishing vessel, after they had been abandoned in the water by a Libyan patrol boat, as the fishermen claimed. Rather than ordering their rapid transfer to a European harbour, Italy, Malta and Spain sought out ways to return the 12 people to Libya. The fishing boat, the Nuestra Madre de Loreto, was ill-equipped to care for the people who were weak and needed medical attention. However, they were assisted only by Proactiva Open Arms, and for over a week, the people had to stay on the fishing boat. One of them developed a medical emergency and was eventually brought away in a helicopter. Finally, in early December, they were brought to Malta.[8]

    Around the same time, something rare and remarkable happened. A boat with over 200 people on board reached the Italian harbour of Pozzallo independently, on the 24th of November. Even when they were at the harbour, the authorities refused to allow them to quickly disembark – a irresponsible decision given that the boat was at risk of capsizing. After several hours, all of the people were finally allowed to get off the boat. Italy’s minister of the interior Salvini accused the Maltese authorities of allowing migrant boats to move toward Italian territory.[9] Despite their hardship, the people on the Nuestra Madre de Loreto and the 200 people from this boat, survived. Also the 33 people rescued by the NGO Sea-Watch on the 22nd of December survived. Others, however, did not. In mid-November, a boat left from Algeria with 13 young people on board, intending to reach Sardinia. On the 16th of November, the first body was found, the second a day later. Three survived and stated later that the 10 others had tried to swim to what they believed to be the shore when they saw a light in the distance.[10] In early December, a boat with 25 people on board left from Sabratha/Libya, and 15 of them did not survive. As a survivor reported, they had been at sea for 12 days without food and water.[11]

    Despite the overall decrease in crossings, what has been remarkable in this region is that the people escaping have more frequently informed the Alarm Phone directly than before. The case mentioned earlier, from the 20th of December, when people from a convoy of 3 boats carrying 313 people in total reached out to us, exemplifies this. Detected by the Colibri reconnaissance aircraft and rescued by Proactiva, this case demonstrates powerfully what international solidarity can achieve, despite all attempts by EU member states and institutions to create a zone of death in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
    Developments in the Western Mediterranean Sea

    Over the past six weeks covered by this report, the Alarm Phone witnessed several times what happens when Spanish and Moroccan authorities shift responsibilities and fail to respond quickly to boats in distress situations. Repeatedly we had to pressurise the Spanish authorities publicly before they launched a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation. And still, many lives were lost at sea. On Moroccan land, the repression campaign against Sub-Saharan travellers and residents continues. On the 30th of November, an Alarm Phone member was, yet again, arrested and deported towards the South of Morocco, to Tiznit, along with many other people. (h https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/04/alarm-phone-member-arrested-and-deported-in-morocco/?post_type_release_type=post). Other friends in Morocco have informed us about the deportation of large groups from Nador to Tiznit. Around the 16th of December, 400 people were forcibly removed, and on the 17th of December, another 300 people were deported to Morocco’s south. This repression against black residents and travellers in Morocco is one of the reasons for many to decide to leave via the sea. This has meant that also during the winter, cross-Mediterranean movements remain high. On just one weekend, the 8th-9th of December, 535 people reached Andalusia/Spain.[12]

    Whilst people are constantly resisting the border regime by acts of disobedience when they cross the borders clandestinely, acts of resistance take place also on the ground in Morocco, where associations and individuals are continuously struggling for the freedom of movement for all. In early December, an Alarm Phone delegation participated at an international conference in Rabat/Morocco, in order to discuss with members of other associations and collectives from Africa and Europe about the effects of the outsourcing and militarisation of European borders in the desire to further criminalise and prevent migration movements. We were among 400 people and were impressed by the many contributions from people who live and struggle in very precarious situations, by the uplifting atmosphere, and by the many accounts and expressions of solidarity. Days later, during the international meeting in Marrakesh on the ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’, the Alarm Phone was part of a counter-summit, protesting the international pact on migration which is not meant to reduce borders between states, but to curtail the freedom of movement of the many in the name of ‘legal’ and ‘regulated’ migration. The Alarm Phone delegation was composed of 20 activists from the cities of Tangier, Oujda, Berkane, Nador and Fes. One of our colleagues sums up the event: “We have expressed our ideas and commitments as Alarm Phone, solemnly and strongly in front of the other organisations represented. We have espoused the vision of freedom of movement, a vision without precedent. A vision which claims symbolically all human rights and which has the power to help migrants on all continents to feel protected.” In light of the Marrakesh pact, several African organisations joined together and published a statement rejecting “…the wish to confine Africans within their countries by strengthening border controls, in the deserts, at sea and in airports.”[13]

    Shortly after the international meeting in Marrakesh, the EU pledged €148 million to support Morocco’s policy of migrant containment, thus taking steps towards making it even more difficult, and therefore more dangerous for many people on the African continent to exercise their right to move freely, under the pretext of “combating smuggling”. Making the journeys across the Mediterranean more difficult does not have the desired effect of ending illegalised migration. As the routes to Spain from the north of Morocco have become more militarised following a summer of many successful crossings, more southern routes have come into use again. These routes, leading to the Spanish Canary Islands, force travellers to overcome much longer distances in the Atlantic Ocean, a space without phone coverage and with a heightened risk to lose one’s orientation. On the 18th of November, 22 people lost their lives at sea, on their way from Tiznit to the Canary Islands.[14] Following a Spanish-Frontex collaboration launched in 2006, this route to the Canary Islands has not been used very frequently, but numbers have increased this year, with Moroccan nationals being the largest group of arrivals.[15]
    Developments in the Aegean Sea

    Over the final weeks of 2018, between the 12th of November and the 23rd of December, 78 boats arrived on the Greek islands while 116 boats were stopped by the Turkish coastguards and returned to Turkey. This means that there were nearly 200 attempts to cross into Europe by boat over five weeks, and about 40 percent of them were successful.[16] Over the past six weeks, the Alarm Phone was involved in a total of 19 cases in this region. 6 of the boats arrived in Samos, 3 of them in Chios, and one each on Lesvos, Agathonisi, Farmkonisi, and Symi. 4 boats were returned to Turkey (3 of them rescued, 1 intercepted by the Turkish coastguards). In one distress situation, a man lost his life and another man had to be brought to the hospital due to hypothermia. Moreover, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 2 cases along the Turkish-Greek land border. While in one case their fate remains uncertain, the other group of people were forcibly pushed-back to Turkey.

    Thousands of people still suffering in inhuman conditions in hotspots: When we assist boats crossing the Aegean Sea, the people are usually relieved and happy when arriving on the islands, at least they have survived. However, this moment of happiness often turns into a state of shock when they enter the so-called ‘hotspots’. Over 12,500 people remain incarcerated there, often living in tents and containers unsuitable for winter in the five EU-sponsored camps on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros. In addition to serious overcrowding, asylum seekers continue to face unsanitary and unhygienic conditions and physical violence, including gender-based violence. Doctors without Borders has reported on a measles outbreak in Greek camps and conducted a vaccination campaign.[17] Amnesty International and 20 other organizations have published a collective call: “As winter approaches all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands must be transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries. […] The EU-Turkey deal containment policy imposes unjustified and unnecessary suffering on asylum seekers, while unduly limiting their rights.”

    The ‘humanitarian’ crisis in the hotspots is the result of Greece’s EU-backed policy of containing asylum seekers on the Aegean islands until their asylum claims are adjudicated or until it is determined that they fall into one of the ‘vulnerable’ categories listed under Greek law. But as of late November, an estimated 2,200 people identified as eligible for transfer are still waiting as accommodation facilities on the mainland are also severely overcrowded. Those who are actually transferred from the hotspot on Lesvos to the Greek mainland are brought to far away camps or empty holiday resorts without infrastructure and without a sufficient number of aid workers.

    Criminalisation along Europe’s Eastern Sea Border: A lot has been written about the many attempts to criminalise NGOs and activists carrying out Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Much less publicly acknowledged are the many cases in which migrant travellers themselves become criminalised for their activist involvement, often for protesting against the inhuman living conditions and the long waiting times for the asylum-interviews. The case of the ‘Moria 35’ on Lesvos was a case in point, highlighting how a few individual protesters were randomly selected by authorities to scare others into silence and obedience. The Legal Centre Lesvos followed this case closely until the last person of the 35 was released and they shared their enquiries with “a 15-month timeline of injustice and impunity” on their website: “On Thursday 18th October, the last of the Moria 35 were released from detention. Their release comes one year and three months – to the day – after the 35 men were arbitrarily arrested and subject to brutal police violence in a raid of Moria camp following peaceful protests, on July 18th 2017.” While the Legal Centre Lesbos welcomes the fact that all 35 men were finally released, they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. They will not get back the 10 to 15 months they spent in prison. Moreover, even after release, most of the 35 men remain in a legally precarious situation. While 6 were granted asylum in Greece, the majority struggles against rejected asylum claims. Three were already deported. One individual was illegally deported without having exhausted his legal remedies in Greece while another individual, having spent 9 months in pre-trial detention, signed up for so-called ‘voluntary’ deportation.[18] In the meantime, others remain in prison to await their trials that will take place with hardly any attention of the media.

    Humanitarian activists involved in spotting and rescue released after 3 months: The four activists, Sarah Mardini, Nassos Karakitsos, Panos Moraitis and Sean Binder, were released on the 6th of December 2018 after having been imprisoned for three months. They had been held in prolonged pre-trial detention for their work with the non-profit organization Emergency Response Center International (ERCI), founded by Moraitis. The charges misrepresented the group as a smuggling crime ring, and its legitimate fundraising activities as money laundering. The arrests forced the group to cease its operations, including maritime search and rescue, the provision of medical care, and non-formal education to asylum seekers. They are free without geographical restrictions but the case is not yet over. Mardini and Binder still face criminal charges possibly leading to decades in prison.[19] Until 15 February the group ‘Solidarity now!’ is collecting as many signatures as possible to ensure that the Greek authorities drop the case.[20]

    Violent Pushbacks at the Land Border: During the last six weeks, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups at the land border separating Turkey and Greece. In both situations, the travellers had already reached Greek soil, but ended up on Turkish territory. Human Right Watch (HRW) published another report on the 18th of December about violent push-backs in the Evros region: “Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants […]. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings.”[21] Regularly, migrants were stripped off their phones, money and clothes. According to HRW, most of these incidents happened between April and November 2018.[22] The UNHCR and the Council of Europe’s Committee for Prevention of Torture have published similar reports about violent push backs along the Evros borders.[23]
    CASE REPORTS

    Over the past 6 weeks, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 38 distress cases, of which 15 took place in the Western Mediterranean, 19 in the Aegean Sea, and 4 in the Central Mediterranean. You can find short summaries and links to the individual reports below.
    Western Mediterranean

    On Tuesday the 13th of November at 6.17pm, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a group of travellers who had left two days earlier from around Orán heading towards Murcia. They were around nine people, including women and children, and the relative had lost contact to the boat. We were also never able to reach the travellers. At 6.46pm we alerted the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM) to the distress of the travellers. For several days we tried to reach the travellers and were in contact with SM about the ongoing rescue operation. We were never able to reach the travellers or get any news from the relative. Thus, we are still unsure if the group managed to reach land somewhere on their own, or if they will add to the devastating number of people having lost their lives at sea (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1085).

    On Thursday the 22nd of November, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone received news about a boat of 11 people that had left Nador 8 hours prior. The shift team was unable to immediately enter into contact with the boat, but called Salvamento Maritimo to convey all available information. At 11.48am the following day, the shift team received word from a traveler on the boat that they were safe (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1088).

    At 7.25am CET on November 24, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 70 people (including 8 women and 1 child) that had departed from Nador 3 days prior. The shift team was able to reach the boat at 7.50am and learned that their motor had stopped working. The shift team called Salvamento Maritimo, who had handed the case over to the Moroccan authorities. The shift team contacted the MRCC, who said they knew about the boat but could not find them, so the shift team mobilized their contacts to find the latest position and sent it to the coast guard at 8.55am. Rescue operations stalled for several hours. At around 2pm, the shift team received news that rescue operations were underway by the Marine Royale. The shift team remained in contact with several people and coast guards until the next day, when it was confirmed that the boat had finally been rescued and that there were at least 15 fatalities (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1087).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, we were alerted to two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. One boat was brought to Algeria, the second boat rescued by Moroccan fishermen and returned to Morocco (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1098).

    On Saturday, the 8th of December 2018, we were informed by a contact person at 3.25pm CET to a boat in distress that had left from Nador/Morocco during the night, at about 1am. There were 57 people on the boat, including 8 women and a child. We tried to establish contact to the boat but were unable to reach them. At 4.50pm, the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) informed us that they were already searching for this boat. At 8.34pm, SM stated that this boat had been rescued. Some time later, also our contact person confirmed that the boat had been found and rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1099).

    On Monday the 10th of December, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to three boats in the Western Med. Two had left from around Nador, and one from Algeria. One boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo, one group of travellers returned back to Nador on their own, and the boat from Algeria returned to Algeria (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1101).

    On Wednesday the 12th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted two boats in the Western Med, one carrying seven people, the other carrying 12 people. The first boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM), whilst the second boat was intercepted by the Moroccan Navy and brought back to Morocco, where we were informed that the travellers were held imprisoned (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1102).

    On December 21st, 2018, we were informed of two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The first had left from Algeria and was probably rescued to Spain. The other one had departed from Tangier and was rescued by the Marine Royale and brought back to Morocco (for full report, see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1110).

    On the 22nd of December, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 81 people (including 7 women) that had left the previous day from Nador. The motor was not working properly. They informed that they were in touch with Salvamiento Maritimo but as they were still in Moroccan waters, Salvamiento Maritimo said they were unable to perform rescue operations. The shift team had difficulty maintaining contact with the boat over the course of the next few hours. The shift team also contacted Salvamiento Maritimo who confirmed that they knew about the case. At 7.50pm, Salvamiento Maritimo informed the shift team that they would perform the rescue operations and confirmed the operation at 8.15pm. We later got the confirmation by a contact person that the people were rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1111).

    On the 23rd of December 2018, at 1.14am CET, the Alarm Phone received an alert of a boat with 11 men and 1 woman who left from Cap Spartel at Saturday the 22nd of December. The Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to this rubber boat in the early hours of Sunday the 23rd of December. The shift team informed the Spanish Search and Rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) at 4:50am CET about the situation and provided them with GPS coordinates of the boat. SM, however, rejected responsibility and shifted it to the Moroccan authorities but also the Moroccan Navy did not rescue the people. Several days later, the boat remains missing (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1112).
    Aegean Sea

    On Saturday the 17th of November the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean Sea. The first boat returned back to Turkey, whilst the second boat reached Samos on their own (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1086).

    On the 19th of November at 8.40pm CET the shift team was alerted to a boat of 11 travelers in distress near the Turkish coast on its way to Kos. The shift team called the Turkish Coastguard to inform them of the situation. At 9.00pm, the Coastguard called back to confirm they found the boat and would rescue the people. The shift team lost contact with the travelers. At 9.35pm, the Turkish coast guard informed the shift team that the boat was sunk, one man died and one person had hypothermia and would be brought to the hospital. The other 9 people were safe and brought back to Turkey (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1090).

    On the 20th of November at 4.07am CET, the shift team was alerted to a boat with about 50 travelers heading to Samos. The shift team contacted the travelers but the contact was broken for both language and technological reasons. The Alarm Phone contacted the Greek Coastguard about rescue operations. At 7.02am, the shift team was told that a boat of 50 people had been rescued, and the news was confirmed later on, although the shift team could not obtain direct confirmation from the travelers themselves (see:http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1089).

    On the 23rd of November at 7.45pm CET, the Alarm Phone was contacted regarding a group of 19 people, (including 2 women, 1 of whom was pregnant, and a child) who had crossed the river Evros/ Meric and the Turkish-Greek landborder 3 days prior. The shift team first contacted numerous rescue and protection agencies, including UNHCR and the Greek Police, noting that the people were already in Greece and wished to apply for asylum. Until today we remained unable to find out what happened to the people (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1091).

    On the 26th of November at 6:54am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a group of 30 people (among them 7 children and a pregnant woman) who were stranded on the shore in southern Turkey, close to Kas. They wanted us to call the Turkish coastguard so at 7:35am we provided the coastguard with the information we had. At 8:41am we received a photograph from our contact person showing rescue by the Turkish coastguard (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1092).

    On the 29th of November at 4am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat carrying 44 people (among them 19 children and some pregnant women) heading towards the Greek island of Samos. Shortly afterwards the travellers landed on Samos and because of their difficulties orienting themselves we alerted the local authorities. At 9:53am the port police told us that they had rescued 44 people. They were taken to the refugee camp (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1093).

    On Monday, the 3rd of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 5.30am CET to a boat in distress south of Chios, with 43 people on board, among them 14 children. We were able to reach the boat at 5.35am. When we received their position, we informed the Greek coastguards at 7.30am and forwarded an updated GPS position to them ten minutes later. At 8.52am, the coastguards confirmed the rescue of the boat. The people were brought to Chios Island. On the next day, the people themselves confirmed that they had all safely reached Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1095).

    On Tuesday the 4th of December 2018, at 6.20am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress near Agathonisi Island. There were about 40 people on board. We established contact to the boat at 6.38am. At 6.45am, we alerted the Greek coastguards. The situation was dangerous as the people on board reported of high waves. At 9.02am, the Greek coastguards confirmed that they had just rescued the boat. The people were brought to Agathonisi (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1096).

    On Wednesday the 5th of December 2018, at 00:08am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a contact person to a boat in distress near Chios Island, carrying about 50 people. We received their GPS position at 00.17am and informed the Greek coastguards to the case at 00.30am. At 00.46am, we learned from the contact person that a boat had just been rescued. The Greek authorities confirmed this when we called them at 00.49am. At around 1pm, the people from the boat confirmed that they had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1097).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was contacted at 5.53am CET by a contact person and informed about a group of 19 people who had crossed the Evros river to Greece and needed assistance. We assisted them for days, but at some point contact was lost. We know that they were returned to Turkey and thus suspect an illegal push-back operation (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1109).

    On Thursday the 13th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean sea. In both cases we were not able to reach the travellers, but we were in contact with both the Turkish and Greek coast guard and were in the end able to confirm that one boat had arrived to Lesvos on their own, whilst the others had been rescued by Turkish fishermen (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1100).

    On the 17th of December, 2018, at 6.39am, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 60 travellers. Water was entering the boat, and so the travelers were in distress. Though the shift team had a difficult time remaining in contact with the boat, they contacted the Greek Coastguard to inform them of the situation and the position of the boat. Although the team was not able to remain in contact with the travelers, they received confirmation at 8.18am that the boat had been brought to Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1103).

    On the 18th of December at 2.11am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats. The first, of 29 travellers, had landed on the island of Symi and needed help to exit the place of landing. The second was a boat of 54 travellers (including 16 children, and 15 women) that was rescued by the Greek Coastguard later (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1104).

    On the 21st of December, our shift teams were alerted to 2 boats on the Aegean. The first boat was directed to Chios Island and was likely rescued by the Greek Coastguard. The second boat was in immediate distress and after the shift team contacted the Greek Coastguard they rescued the boat (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1105).

    On the 23rd of December 2018 at 6am CET, the Alarm Phone received information about a boat in distress heading to Samos with around 60 travellers (including 30 children and 8 women, 4 pregnant). The shift team made contact with the boat and was informed that one of the women was close to giving birth and so the situation was very urgent. The shift team then called the Greek Coast Guard. At 8.07am, the shift team received confirmation that the boat had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1106).
    Central Mediterranean

    On Monday the 12th of November at 6.57pm, the Alarm Phone was called by a relative, asking for help to find out what had happened to his son, who had been on a boat from Algeria towards Sardinia, with around 11 travellers on the 8t of November. Following this, the Alarm Phone was contacted by several relatives informing us about missing people from this boat. Our shift teams tried to gain an understanding of the situation, and for days we stayed in contact with the relatives and tried to support them, but it was not possible to obtain information about what had happened to the travellers (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1094).

    On November 23rd at 1.24pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was called by a boat of 120 travelers that was in distress and had left the Libyan coast the night before. The shift team remained in touch with the boat for several hours, and helped recharge their phone credit when it expired. As the boat was in distress, and there were no available NGO operations near the boat, the shift team had no choice but to contact the Italian Coast Guard, but they refused to engage in Search and Rescue (SAR) activities, and instead told the Libyan Coastguard. The boat was intercepted and returned to Libya (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1107).

    On December 20th, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two cases in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The first was a boat of 20 people that was intercepted and brought back to Libya. The second concerned 3 boats with 300 people in total, that were rescued by Open Arms and brought to Spain (for full report see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1108).

    https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/27/and-yet-we-move-2018-a-contested-year/?post_type_release_type=post


  • 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


  • UNFPA urges concerted efforts to address refugee needs in Ethiopia

    The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Saturday called for concerted efforts to address humanitarian needs of refugees in Ethiopia’s Gambella regional state.

    UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Dereje Wordofa and a team of UNFPA regional directors and country representatives visited Ethiopia’s Gambella regional state, which alone hosts more than 423,000 refugees from neighboring countries, mainly the civil-war ravaged South Sudan.

    According to UNFPA figures, about 64 percent of the refugees in camps across Gambella region are younger than 18 and some 88 percent are said to be women and children.

    “In addition to the humanitarian response in the region, the increase in demand for social services among both host communities and displaced people remains a challenge to be addressed, as this is creating tension among refugees,” the UNFPA said in a statement.

    The UNFPA also called for swift efforts in addressing health-sector needs of refugees in Gambella region, with particularly emphasis given to the existing “poor maternal health services.”

    It said the region has only one referral hospital and that “a relatively high proportion” of women still give birth at home, with the assistance of “traditional birth attendants.”

    “There has been increasing concern for the safety of vulnerable groups, especially women and girls traveling long distances to collect firewood, food and water,” the statement said.

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-10/21/c_137547252.htm
    #camp_de_réfugiés #réfugiés #asile #migrations #Gambella #Ethiopie #Sud_Soudan #Soudan_du_Sud #réfugiés_sud-soudanais


  • 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


  • As the World Abandons Refugees, UNHCR’s Constraints Are Exposed

    The U.N. refugee agency lacks the funding, political clout and independence to protect refugees in the way that it is supposed to, says former UNHCR official and refugee policy expert #Jeff_Crisp.

    Over the past three years, the world has been confronted with a number of major new refugee emergencies – in Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Venezuela, as well as the Central American region. In addition, existing crises in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Syria have gone unresolved, making it impossible for large exiled populations to return to their own country. As a result, the global refugee population has soared to more than 25 million, the highest figure ever recorded.

    This means that the role of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, which is supposed to protect and find solutions for this growing population, is more important than ever. But is it up to the task? The proliferating crises have stretched it to the limit. Funding, most of which comes from a dozen key donor states, has not kept up with the rising numbers the agency is expected to support. In April, UNHCR said it had received just $2.3 billion of the $8.2 billion it needed for its annual program.

    Things look unlikely to improve. UNHCR is losing the support of the United States, traditionally the organization’s most important government partner, whether under Republican or Democrat administrations. Since Donald Trump’s election, the country has slashed the number of refugees it admits through its resettlement program. In his final years in office, Barack Obama had raised the annual quota to 110,000 refugees. That is now down to 45,000 and may yet be reduced to 25,000.

    There is also the prospect that the Trump administration will demonstrate its disdain for the U.N. and limited interest in the refugee issue by reducing its funding to the agency, as it has already done with UNRWA, a separate agency that supports Palestinian refugees. Given that the U.S. currently contributes almost 40 percent of the UNHCR budget, even a modest reduction in its support will mean serious cuts in expenditure.

    The agency therefore has little choice but to look for alternative sources of funding and diplomatic support, especially from the European Union and its member states. But that may come at a price. One of the E.U.’s top priorities is to halt the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers who have transited through nearby countries such as Libya, Morocco and Turkey. Populist political parties throughout much of the E.U. are reaping the electoral benefits of taking a hard line on the issue of refugees and migration. Several European governments have shown little hesitation in violating the international refugee laws they have signed in their desperation to seal Europe’s borders.

    The E.U. thus looks to UNHCR for two things: first, the expertise and operational capacity of an organization that has years of experience in responding to mass movements of people; and second, the legitimacy that E.U. policies can acquire by means of close association with an agency deemed by its founding statute to be “entirely non-political and humanitarian.” In this context, it should come as no surprise that E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has been at pains to point out that the E.U. and UNHCR “work together” and have a “close partnership” – and that the E.U. remains “the strongest supporter of UNHCR.”

    But this partnership (which involved $436 million in funding from Brussels alone in 2017) also involves an important element of compromise on the part of UNHCR. In the Mediterranean, for example, the E.U. is funding the Libyan coast guard to intercept and return any refugees who try to leave the country by boat. Those people are subsequently confined to detention centers where, according to Amnesty International, they are at risk of torture, forced labor, extortion and murder at the hand of smugglers, bandits or the Libyan authorities.

    The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has publicly chastised the E.U. for its failure to improve the situation of migrants in Libya. By contrast, UNHCR has kept very quiet about the E.U.’s role in the process of interception, return and detention, despite the fact that these actions violate a fundamental principle of refugee protection: that no one should be returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened.

    This reveals a fundamental tension in the organization’s character. Ostensibly, UNHCR enjoys a high degree of independence and moral authority. As part of the U.N. system, it is treated with more respect by states and other actors than NGOs doing similar work. It has regular access to heads of state, government leaders, regional organizations, the U.N. security council and the secretary-general himself (who was previously UNHCR chief).

    But in practice, the autonomy enjoyed by UNHCR is at best a relative one. Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The organization can operate in a country only if it has the agreement of the government, which also has the ability to shape the scope of UNHCR’s operational activities, as well as the partners it works with. In countries such as Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria, for example, the organization is obliged to work with government departments whose priorities may well be different from those of UNHCR.

    Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The tensions at the heart of UNHCR seem unlikely to diminish. Throughout the world, governments are closing their borders to refugees and depriving them of basic rights. Exiled populations are being induced to repatriate against their will and to countries that are not safe. As epitomized by the E.U.’s deal with Turkey, asylum seekers have become bargaining chips in interstate relations, used by political leaders to extract financial, political and even military concessions from each other.

    Given the constitutional constraints imposed on the organization, UNHCR’s options are now limited. It can try (as it has done for many years) to diversify its funding base. It could assume a more assertive stance with states that violate refugee protection principles – and in doing so risk the loss of its already diminished degree of diplomatic support. And it can hope that the recently completed Global Compact on Refugees, a nonbinding declaration of principles that most U.N. member states are expected to sign, will have some effect on the way that governments actually treat refugees.

    A final option available to UNHCR is to be more transparent about its limitations, to moderate the relentless self-promotion of its branding and marketing campaign and give greater recognition to the efforts that refugees are making to improve their own lives. In that respect, UNHCR’s favourite hashtag, “We Stand #WithRefugees,” could usefully be changed to “Refugees Are #StandingUpForThemselves.”

    #UN #ONU #HCR #UNHCR #crise #indépendance #fonds #financement #it_has_begun


  • 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.
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    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


  • China as a conflict mediator: Maintaining stability along the Belt and Road | Mercator Institute for China Studies
    https://www.merics.org/en/china-mapping/china-conflict-mediator

    y Helena Legarda and Marie L. Hoffmann

    Recent years have seen significant changes in China’s international mediation activities. In countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Syria and Israel, among others, diplomats from China increasingly engage in preventing, managing or resolving conflict. In 2017 Beijing was mediating in nine conflicts, a visible increase compared to only three in 2012, the year when Xi Jinping took power as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

    The increase in Chinese mediation activities began in 2013, the year that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was launched. Before that, Beijing was relatively reluctant to engage in conflict resolution abroad. As the MERICS mapping shows, the year 2008 is an outlier in that regard. China’s activities at the time – such as its efforts to mediate between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, or between Sudan and South Sudan – were probably part of Beijing’s charm offensive and its drive to gain more international visibility in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

    #route_de_la_soie #belt_road #chine #eurasie #europe #transport #corridor #corridor_multimodal


  • Is Yemen’s Man-Made Famine the Future of War ? | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/is-yemen-intentional-starvation-the-future-of-war?mbid=social_facebook

    The U.S.- and Saudi-backed war here has increased the price of food, cooking gas, and other fuel, but it is the disappearance of millions of jobs that has brought more than eight million people to the brink of starvation and turned Yemen into the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. There is sufficient food arriving in ports here, but endemic unemployment means that almost two-thirds of the population struggle to buy the food their families need. In this way, hunger here is entirely man-made: no drought or blight has caused it.

    In 2015, alarmed by the growing power of a Shia armed group known as the Houthis in its southern neighbor, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of Arab states and launched a military offensive in Yemen to defeat the rebels. The Saudis believed that the Houthis were getting direct military support from the kingdom’s regional archrival, Iran, and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah. The offensive quickly pushed the Houthis out of some southern areas, but then faltered; the rebels still control much of the country, including the capital.

    A blockade of the rebel-held area is intermittently enforced by the Saudis, with all shipments of food and other imported goods subject to U.N. or coalition approval and inspections, driving up prices. Saudi-led aerial bombing has destroyed infrastructure and businesses, and has devastated the economy inside rebel-held areas. The Saudi-led coalition, which controls Yemen’s airspace, has enforced an almost complete media blackout by preventing reporters and human-rights researchers from taking U.N. relief flights into Houthi-controlled areas for much of the last two years. In June, I reached the capital by entering the coalition-controlled part of Yemen and then, travelling by road, crossed the front line disguised as a Yemeni woman in local dress and a face veil.

    Human-rights groups question the legality of the Hodeidah offensive, as well as the Saudi-led blockade and aerial bombing campaign, on the grounds that they have created widespread hunger. The Geneva Conventions prohibit the destruction of “objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.” Alex de Waal, the author of the book “Mass Starvation,” which analyzes recent man-made famines, argued that economic war is being waged in Yemen. “The focus on food supplies over all and humanitarian action is actually missing the bigger point,” de Waal told me. “It’s an economic war with famine as a consequence.”

    The world’s most recent man-made famine was in South Sudan, last year. There, the use of food as a weapon was clearer, with civilians affiliated with certain tribes driven from their homes—and food sources—by soldiers and rebels determined to terrify them into never coming back. In the epicenter of the famine, starving South Sudanese families told stories of mass murder and rape. Entire communities fled into nearby swamps and thousands starved to death or drowned. Gunmen burned markets to the ground, stole food, and killed civilians who were sneaking out of the swamps to find food.

    In Syria, the images of starving children in rebel-controlled Eastern Ghouta, at the end of last year, were the latest evidence of the Assad regime’s use of siege-and-starvation tactics. With the support of Russia and Iran, the Syrian government has starved civilian enclaves as a way to pressure them to surrender. In Yemen, none of the warring parties seem to be systematically withholding food from civilians. Instead, the war is making it impossible for most civilians to earn the money they need buy food—and exposing a loophole in international law. There is no national-food-availability crisis in Yemen, but a massive economic one.

    Martha Mundy, a retired professor of anthropology from the London School of Economics, has, along with Yemeni colleagues, analyzed the location of air strikes throughout the war. She said their records show that civilian areas and food supplies are being intentionally targeted. “If one looks at certain areas where they say the Houthis are strong, particularly Saada, then it can be said that they are trying to disrupt rural life—and that really verges on scorched earth,” Mundy told me. “In Saada, they hit the popular, rural weekly markets time and again. It’s very systematic targeting of that.”

    De Waal argued that man-made famines will become increasingly common aspects of modern conflict, and said that defining war crimes related to food and hunger more clearly will become increasingly urgent. Hunger and preventable diseases have always killed many more people than bombs and bullets, he said, but if they are a direct result of military strategy, they should not be considered the product of chance. The war in Yemen and other wars being waged today are forcing a new legal debate about whether the lives of many people killed in conflict are lost or taken. “It is possible that they could weasel out from legal responsibility,” de Waal said, referring to commanders in such a conflict. “But there should be no escape from moral responsibility.”

    #Guerre #Famine #Salopards


  • Forced displacement at record high of 68.5 million, UNHCR #Global_Trends report reveals

    UNHCR released its Global Trends report this week to coincide with World Refugee Day, detailing the latest statistics on forced displacement across the world. According to the report, over 68.5 million people are currently displaced from their homes for reasons of conflict, violence and other forms of persecution. This figure represents a record high for the fifth consecutive year.

    In 2017 alone, over 16.2 million people were forcibly displaced, a figure which translates to 44,500 people a day, or one person every two seconds. Over two thirds of the world’s refugees originate from just five countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia.

    The report found that over half of those displaced are children, many of whom are unaccompanied or separated from their parents. In 2017 173,800 children sought asylum on their own, although UNHCR states that this figure is likely an underestimation.

    The report dispels a number of common misconceptions about forced displacement, such as the belief that most of those displaced are hosted in countries in the Global North. UNHCR affirms that in fact the opposite is true, stating that “approximately 85 per cent of all refugees at the end of 2017 were granted protection in countries in developing regions, which included nine of the 10 largest refugee-hosting countries”. Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees, now reaching 3.5 million, while Lebanon hosts the greatest number in proportion to its own population.

    Another misconception the report addresses is the number of cross-border displacements. Almost two thirds of those forced to flee are internally displaced within their own borders. In addition, most of those who do cross a national border settle as close as possible to their home.

    The EU also launched its Annual Report from EASO, the European Asylum Support Office, providing an overview of asylum related policies and practices, both at EU and at national level. In 2017, more than 728,000 applications for international protection were lodged in EU countries, with 33% of decisions granting asylum seekers either refugee status or subsidiary protection.

    https://www.ecre.org/forced-displacement-at-record-high-of-68-5-million-unhcr-global-trends-report-
    #statistiques #chiffres #migrations #asile #réfugiés #HCR #monde #2017

    Lien pour télécharger le #rapport :
    http://www.unhcr.org/5b27be547.pdf
    http://www.unhcr.org/globaltrends2017
    #IDPs #déplacés_internes #apatridie #Rohingya #retour_volontaire #réinstallation #RDC #Congo #république_démocratique_du_congo #taux_de_protection #MNA #mineurs_non_accompagnés

    Quelques graphiques :


    #cartographie #visualisation

    cc @reka


  • Death penalties by country 2017 - MapPorn

    https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/8btmo7/death_penalties_by_country_2017_1280x905

    Because of population differences, this is pretty misleading. The rate per 100,000,000 people would tell you more:

    Iran>634

    Saudi Arabia=456

    Iraq> 336

    Bahrain=207

    Somalia=162

    Kuwait= 175

    Jordan=160

    Singapore=143

    Palestine=132

    China>72

    Egypt>37

    South Sudan=33

    Pakistan>31

    Belarus>21

    Afghanistan=15

    Malaysia>12

    UAE=10

    USA=7

    Yemen=7

    Bangladesh=4

    Japan=3

    North Korea/Vietnam=???

    #droits_humains #peine_de-mort #cartographie #visualisation #sémiologie


  • Ethiopia reaffirms open-door refugee policy amid continuing refugee influx

    Ethiopia has reaffirmed its open-door policy for refugees that are flocking into the East African country mainly from its unsettled neighboring countries.

    The Ethiopian refugee agency (ARRA) said Monday that even though the country presently shelters more than 900,000 refugees, it will maintain its open door policy towards refugees and “continue to receive new arrivals from several of its neighbors, notably from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Yemen.”

    Ethiopia, which is home to the second largest refugee population in Africa next to Uganda, further affirmed its commitment to improving refugee lives through the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Nine Significant Pledges it has made in September 2016.

    “As a country proud for its long-standing history of hosting refugees and home to the second largest refugee population in Africa, our commitment to improving refugee lives will continue unabated in light of the CRRF and the Nine Significant Pledges we made in September 2016,” Zeynu Jemal, Deputy Director of Ethiopian Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), told journalists on Monday.

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-02/27/c_137003872.htm
    #ouverture_Des_Frontières #frontières_ouvertes #Ethiopie #asile #migrations #réfugiés


  • South Sudan close to famine, facing “toughest year” - aid ...
    http://news.trust.org/item/20180226105540-wcwwf

    South Sudan is close to another famine, aid officials said on Monday, after more than four years of civil war and failed ceasefires in the world’s youngest nation.

    Almost two-thirds of the population will need food aid this year to stave off starvation and malnutrition as aid groups prepare for the “toughest year on record”, members of a working group including South Sudanese and U.N. officials said.

    “The situation is extremely fragile, and we are close to seeing another famine. The projections are stark. If we ignore them, we’ll be faced with a growing tragedy,” said Serge Tissot, from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in South Sudan.

    A total of 5.3 million people, 48 percent of the population, are already in “crisis” or “emergency” - stages three and four on a five point scale, according to a survey published by the working group.

    #Soudan_du_sud #famine #indifférence


  • Sampling bias in climate–conflict research
    http://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0068-2

    Critics have argued that the evidence of an association between #climate change and #conflict is flawed because the research relies on a dependent variable sampling strategy. Similarly, it has been hypothesized that convenience of access biases the sample of cases studied (the ‘streetlight effect’). This also gives rise to claims that the climate–conflict literature stigmatizes some places as being more ‘naturally’ violent. Yet there has been no proof of such sampling patterns. Here we test whether climate–conflict research is based on such a biased sample through a systematic review of the literature. We demonstrate that research on climate change and violent conflict suffers from a streetlight effect. Further, studies which focus on a small number of cases in particular are strongly informed by cases where there has been conflict, do not sample on the independent variables (climate impact or risk), and hence tend to find some association between these two variables. These biases mean that research on climate change and conflict primarily focuses on a few accessible regions, overstates the links between both phenomena and cannot explain peaceful outcomes from climate change. This could result in maladaptive responses in those places that are stigmatized as being inherently more prone to climate-induced violence.

    • A growing number of policymakers, journalists and scholars are linking climate change to violent conflict9. Nevertheless, scientific evidence of this relationship remains elusive due to heterogeneous research designs, variables, data sets and scales of analysis10,11. Amid the array of disparate findings is a core of meta-analyses that are based on statistical methods12,13 as well as several in-depth studies linking climate change to highly prominent conflicts such as those in Darfur or Syria14,15.

      Critics of this research point to an array of methodological problems, and to a lesser extent a deeper underlying problem with a study design that selects only cases where conflict is present or where data are readily available1,2,3,4,10. Researchers have, for instance, intensively studied the impact of a multi-year drought on the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011, while there is little analysis of responses to the same drought in Jordan or Lebanon, where no large-scale violence erupted16. So, if the evidence of a causal association between climate and violent conflict is informed only by exceptional instances where violent conflict arises and climate also varies in some way, it is unable to explain the vastly more ubiquitous and continuing condition of peace under a changing climate.

      Other critics of the research claiming a link between climate change and violent conflict have pointed to the way it stigmatizes some places—most often ‘Africa’ or a few African countries—as being more naturally violent than others. It does this ignoring the many similar and/or proximate places where peaceful responses are the norm, and the complex political, economic and institutional factors that cause violence and peace4,6,8,17. Such ‘mappings of danger’ can undermine the confidence of investors, local people and international donors and hence undermine sustainable development. They change the climate policy challenge from being one of adaptation with and in the interests of local people, to one of interventions to secure peace in the interests of those who fear the risk of contagious conflict and instability6,18.

      So, it is important to understand whether the research claiming a link between climate change and violent conflict is based on a biased sampling strategy. Yet the extent to which this is the case remains untested. We therefore survey the relevant academic literature for the period 1990–2017 using the Scopus database and a systematic review—a method often used to analyse large bodies of literature with a high degree of rigour and replicability, and which is described in the Methods section with data provided in Supplementary Datasets 1 and 219,20.

      The analysis of the relevant literature shows that Africa is by far the most frequently mentioned continent (77 mentions), followed by Asia (45) (see Table 1). The dominant focus on Africa in the literature is largely stable over time (see Fig. 1). This is surprising given that Asia is also home to places that are politically fragile and highly vulnerable to climate change21,22, but much more populous. Other continents with significant vulnerabilities to climate change (and that are at least in some places also prone to violent conflict), such as South America or Oceania, are hardly considered at all21.
      Table 1 Most frequently mentioned continents and world regions in climate–conflict publications
      Full size table
      Fig. 1: Frequency of mentions of continents in the climate–conflict literature per year.
      Fig. 1

      The bars illustrate how frequently a continent was mentioned in the climate–conflict literature per year (2007–2017). No bar indicates that the continent was not mentioned in this year.
      Full size image

      With respect to world regions, Sub-Saharan Africa was by far most frequently mentioned in the literature analysed (44 times), although the Middle East (22) and the Sahel (22) were also discussed often (see Table 1). At the country level, Kenya and Sudan were most frequently analysed by climate–conflict researchers (11 mentions), followed by Egypt (8) as well as India, Nigeria and Syria (7). Complete lists of the continents, world regions and countries discussed in climate–conflict research can be found in Supplementary Dataset 1.

      To check whether the selection of cases is biased towards the dependent variable, we run a number of Poisson regressions (see Supplementary Tables 1–3 for the full results) using data on, among others, the number of times a country is mentioned in the literature and on battle-related deaths between 1989 and 201522. Although the battle-related deaths data set is far from perfect and tends to underestimate small-scale violence (which many scholars believe is likely to be the most affected by climate change), it is currently the best global data set on violent conflict prevalence available.

      The correlation between the number of mentions and a high death toll is positive and significant in all models (Fig. 2). This suggests that studies on climate–conflict links that research one or a few individual countries are disproportionally focusing on cases that are already experiencing violent conflict. Holding other factors constant, we estimate that countries with more than 1,000 battle-related deaths are mentioned almost three times as often as countries with a lower death toll. This is further supported by a comparison of the top ten countries of each list (Table 2). Six of the ten most-often-mentioned countries are also among the ten countries with the most battle-related deaths. The four remaining countries are also characterized by significant numbers of battle-related deaths, ranging from 2,775 (Egypt) to 8,644 (South Sudan).
      Fig. 2: Changes in the frequency of mentions in the climate–conflict literature depending on country characteristics.
      Fig. 2

      Relative changes in the frequency with which countries are mentioned in the climate–conflict literature depending on climatic and other characteristics (estimated incidence rate ratios are shown, with 95% confidence intervals in grey). Estimated changes are not significant at the 5% level where confidence intervals cross the dashed line. Model 1 analyses the full sample. Model 2 includes English-speaking country instead of former British colony. Model 3 replaces Agriculture>25% of GDP with Agriculture>25% of employment. Model 4 uses high vulnerability rather than high exposure to climate change. Model 5 drops Kenya and Sudan from the analysis. Model 6 includes only African countries.
      Full size image
      Table 2 Countries most often mentioned in climate–conflict literature and countries with most battle-related deaths
      Full size table

      In contrast, the sampling of countries to be studied seems to be barely informed by the independent variable. A high exposure and a high vulnerability to climate change according to the ND-GAIN index23 are negatively, but not significantly, correlated with the number of times a country is mentioned (Fig. 2). The same holds true for the correlation with our climate risk measure based on the Global Climate Risk Index (CRI)24, although correlations are mostly significant here (Fig. 2), indicating that countries less at risk from climate change are more often discussed in the climate–conflict literature.

      Table 3 adds further evidence to this claim. None of the ten most climate change-affected countries according to the ND-GAIN exposure score or the CRI are among the top ten countries considered in the climate–conflict literature. Further, the literature on climate change and conflict does not discuss 11 of these 20 high-climate risk-countries at all (Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Seychelles, Tuvalu and Yemen), despite many of them being characterized by significant political instability. There may be several reasons for these disparities, which include a greater interest in conflict-prone countries, issues of accessibility (discussed in the next paragraph) and a preference for studying countries with a higher global political relevance.
      Table 3 Countries most often mentioned in the climate–conflict literature compared with the countries most exposed to and at risk from climate change
      Full size table

      The literature largely agrees that climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’ that aggravates existing tensions. It would hence make little sense to focus predominantly on countries that are politically very stable. Also, several analyses explicitly select their cases based on a number of scope conditions that are hypothesized to make climate–conflict links more likely16,25. But if studies (especially when analysing a small number of cases) focus on places that are already suffering from intense violent conflict, while highly vulnerable countries receive little attention, results may be distorted and significant knowledge gaps left unaddressed. In line with this, we find that further climate sensitivity measures such as the contribution of the agricultural sector to employment (negative, insignificant effect) and to gross domestic product (GDP; slightly positive and significant, but not robust effect) are weak predictors for the number of mentions (Fig. 2).

      Our results further indicate a streetlight effect in climate–conflict research, that is, researchers tend to focus on particular places for reasons of convenience5. On the continent level, the availability of conflict data might have played an important role, especially as statistical analyses are very widespread in climate–conflict research10. Large geo-referenced conflict data sets spanning several countries and longer time periods were until very recently only available for Africa26. Indeed, when just considering statistical studies (n = 35 in our sample), the focus on Africa as a continent (65%) and Sub-Saharan Africa as a region (57%) is even stronger than in the full sample.

      On the country level, all models reveal a positive and significant correlation between the numbers of mentions in the literature and countries that are former British colonies (Fig. 2). A likely explanation for this finding is that countries formerly colonized by Great Britain have better data (for example, historic weather records), which makes research more convenient5. Further, in four of the six most-mentioned countries (Sudan, Kenya, India and Nigeria). English is an official language (which makes research more practicable for many Western scholars). However, the positive correlation between these two factors indicated by model 2 (Fig. 2) is not significant. The presence of a streetlight effect in climate–conflict research is a reason for concern as it suggests that case selection (and hence knowledge production) is driven by accessibility rather than concerns for the explanation or practical relevance27.

      One should note that the database we used for the literature search (Scopus) mainly captures journal articles that are written in English. Including French and Spanish language journals would probably yield a different picture of countries and regions most frequently mentioned.

      The statistical findings provided by this study are robust to the use of different model specifications, the inclusion of further control variables, and the removal of the two most frequently mentioned countries (Kenya and Sudan) from the analysis (see Fig. 2 and the Supplementary Information for further information). Results also hold when analysing Africa only, hence suggesting that the detected sampling biases occur not only on a global scale, but are also valid for the continent most intensively discussed in climate–conflict research.

      To conclude, critics have warned for some time that environmental security and climate–conflict research tend to choose cases on the dependent variable2,3,28. Our study provides the first systematic, empirical evidence that such claims are warranted. Studies focusing on one or a few cases tend to study places where the dependent variable (violent conflict) is present and hardly relate to the independent variable (vulnerability to climate change). In addition, climate–conflict research strongly focuses on cases that are most convenient in terms of field access or data availability.

      To be clear, we do not intent to criticize individual studies, which often have good reasons to focus on specific regions, countries and phenomena. However, the sampling biases of the climate–conflict research field as a whole are deeply problematic for at least four reasons.

      First, they convey the impression that climate–conflict links are stronger or more prevalent than they actually are3. This is especially the case for studies using few cases. Large-N studies usually contain a large number of non-conflict cases in their sample, although they draw all of these cases from a few regions or countries (see below).

      Second, focusing strongly on cases of violent conflict limits the ability of (qualitative) researchers to study how people adapt peacefully to the impacts of climate change or carry out the associated conflicts non-violently4,29. Such knowledge, however, would be particularly valuable from a policy-making perspective.

      Third, evidence of climate–conflict links comes primarily from few regions and countries that are convenient to access, such as (Sub-Saharan) Africa. This is even more of an issue in large-N, statistical analyses. While such a bias is not problematic per se as considerable parts of (Sub-Saharan) Africa are vulnerable to both climate change and conflict, this also implies that other very vulnerable regions, for instance in Asia and especially in South America and Oceania, receive little scholarly attention.

      Finally, over-representing certain places leads to them being stigmatized as inherently violent and unable to cope with climate change peacefully4,6. This is particularly the case for Africa as a continent, the world regions Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, and countries such as Kenya, Sudan or Egypt. Such stigmatization might contribute to the re-production of colonial stereotypes, especially as 81% of the first authors in our sample were affiliated with institutions in countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). And it can also provide legitimation for the imposed security responses in certain places at the expense of co-produced adaptation responses in all places at risk from climate change17,18,30.


  • Welcome to a new kind of war: the rise of endless urban conflict

    The traditional security paradigm in our western-style democracies fails to accommodate a key feature of today’s wars: when our major powers go to war, the enemies they now encounter are irregular combatants. Not troops, organised into armies; but “freedom” fighters, guerrillas, terrorists. Some are as easily grouped by common purpose as they are disbanded. Others engage in wars with no end in sight.

    What such irregular combatants tend to share is that they urbanise war. Cities are the space where they have a fighting chance, and where they can leave a mark likely to be picked up by the global media. This is to the disadvantage of cities – but also to the typical military apparatus of today’s major powers.

    Irregular combatants are at their most effective in cities. They cannot easily shoot down planes, nor fight tanks in open fields. Instead, they draw the enemy into cities, and undermine the key advantage of today’s major powers, whose mechanised weapons are of little use in dense and narrow urban spaces.
    Nor do contemporary urban wars even prioritise direct combat. Rather, they produce forced urbanisation and de-urbanisation. In many cases, such as Kosovo, displaced people swell urban populations. In other cases, such as Baghdad, ethnic cleansing expels people – in that case the “voluntary” departures of Sunnis, Christians and other religious groups, all of whom had long co-existed in Iraq’s large cities.

    Indeed, warring forces now often avoid battle. Their main strategy is to gain control over territory, through the expulsion of “the other” – often defined in terms of ethnicity, religion, tribal membership or political affiliation. Their main tactic is the terror of conspicuous atrocities, such as in South Sudan, home to a brutal and bloody war with no end in sight fought between two strongmen (and former collaborators), or the Congo, where irregular armies fighting for control of mining wealth have killed millions.

    The western military is learning. The US now has training camps featuring imitation “Arab” urban districts, and has picked up the Israeli practice of entering a dense neighbourhood not via the street, but by crossing through homes – a parallel pathway to the street, running from one interior room to another by carving holes in contiguous walls, and dealing with the inhabitants as they come across them.

    Global media certainly have an easier time reporting on major cities than on villages and fields. But even when those “remote” deaths are invoked, the shock and the engagement is not as strong as it is with terrorist attacks in cities. This engagement with the urban goes beyond attacks on people: when a major historic building or work of art is destroyed, it can generate huge responses of horror, pain, sadness, sense of loss – but 6 million killed in Congo? Nothing.

    We have gone from wars commanded by hegemonic powers that sought control over sea, air, and land, to wars fought in cities – either inside the war zone, or enacted in cities far away. The space for action can involve “the war”, or simply specific local issues; each attack has its own grievances and aims, seeking global projection or not. Localised actions by local armed groups, mostly acting independently from other such groups, let alone from actors in the war zone – this fragmented isolation has become a new kind of multi-sited war.

    In the old wars, there was the option of calling for an armistice. In today’s wars, there are no dominant powers who can decide to end it. Today’s urban wars, above all, are wars with no end in sight.


    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jan/30/new-war-rise-endless-urban-conflict-saskia-sassen?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_
    #villes #guerres #conflits #urban_matter #urbanisation_des_conflits #guerres_urbaines #médiatisation #milices #combattants #guérilla #Saskia_Sassen #villes_en_guerre

    cc @albertocampiphoto @reka @isskein @tchaala_la @fil @ville_en


  • #Refugee_plus

    Refugees Plus is a digital media platform founded by a network of young refugee journalists who have first hand experience of what it means to be displaced. Refugees Plus aims to share the extraordinary success stories and challenges faced by refugees and displaced people.

    From Syria to South Sudan, the world has seen a record number of displaced people, with over 65 million people forced to flee their homes by conflict, persecution and natural disasters.

    This comes at a time of rising populism and xenophobia and rich countries closing their doors to those seeking safety. And the few who make it to destinations like Europe and America are portrayed as a security threat or economic burden by the media.

    International media attention on refuges stories and humanitarian crisis is increasingly becoming limited to geopolitical and strategic interest only instead of drawing attention to the plight of the women and children behind the headlines.

    As refugee journalists with industry standard experience, we come in to fill the gap and give voice to refugees and displaced people using the power of social media. We want to give a platform to the talented refugees contributing to their host countries including the entrepreneurs, the doctors, engineers, athletes and politicians. We also want to tell the stories of those trapped in camps, those making the treacherous sea and Sahara crossings as they flee persecution.

    We basically want to #TellOurOwnStories #WithRefugees


    http://refugeesplus.com

    #Refugeeplus #réfugiés #médias #journalisme #réfugiés_journalistes #journalistes_réfugiés #presse #raconter_sa_propre_histoire
    cc @isskein @reka

    • #ZINE

      ZINE is a platform for expression in the midst of uncertainty, an attempt to control one’s own narrative when circumstances and bureaucracy are wearing away at that right where the refugees of #Leros’ hotspot are concerned. Instead of an identity based in police paperwork, asylum applications, or case numbers, ZINE is composed of poetry, art, and personal narratives. It is that age-old rebel yell for humanity, this time coming from the hotspots of Greece. It is produced by Echo100Plus at The Hub – a community center on the island of Leros – where refugees who reside in RIC facilities (Reception and Identification Centers) are safe and welcome to attend classes and activities.

      https://issuu.com/echo100plus/docs/zine


  • The Refugee Crisis in 2017
    https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2017/12/28/year-in-review-the-refugee-crisis-in-2017

    From the mass exodus of refugees out of Myanmar and South Sudan to escalating returns of Afghans and threats to send back Syrians, refugees faced a crisis of resources and institutions in 2017. We look back at some of the major developments this year.


  • Ethiopia : Confronting urban hardship

    The traditional image of refugees in sprawling rural settlements and camps no long accurately depicts the reality of today’s refugee situation. With more than half of the world’s refugees living in cities and urban areas, the refugee experience itself has changed in many ways. The life of a forced migrant in an urban environment is often one invisibility and simultaneous exposure. Urban refugees and asylum seekers constantly face protection risks and are often denied access to basic services, exposing them to unique social vulnerabilities.

    Ethiopia, which hosts over 830,000 displaced individuals, is experiencing a rise in numbers of urban refugees. Crises in neighbouring countries such as South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Yemen have contributed to these rising numbers. In fact, according to the UNHCR, there are over 20,000 urban refugees in the capital city of Addis Ababa, most of them from Eritrea.

    Urban refugees residing in Addis Ababa and all over the world face alternative challenges to those living in camps where basic amenities such as food, water, and shelter are often available. High priced city living, limited access to social and economic services, lack of skills training, employment opportunities, and insufficient support contributes to the poor living conditions of the urban refugee experience.

    In response to these harsh circumstances, JRS started the first and only urban Refugee Community Centre (RCC) in Addis Ababa in 1996. The RCC responds to the unmet needs of urban refugees and asylum seekers with a range of services and support. The vocational skills training, day care service, English language courses, psychosocial services, sports and recreation, music therapy, and emergency food and material assistance offered by RCC helps displaced persons heal, learn, and thrive in their new environments.

    The RCC project provides educational support to the Somali community residing in Addis Ababa, because illiteracy is widespread among many Somali refugees. The English and computer classes, and sports activities and community services offered by JRS help many refugees improve their living situations. These educational courses and social integration programs are relevant to everyday life, as many urban refugees are unable to obtain these resources on their own. “Even if there is no money that can be given, JRS talks to us and makes us feel good despite the hardships,” said a refugee woman at the centre.

    During the 2016 Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, Ethiopia made pledges to address the socio-economic needs of refugees and host communities. Accordingly, the pledges will amend Ethiopia’s national law to expand the out-of-camp policy and issue work permits to refugees. JRS RCC is adapting its projects in response to the changing context, especially those activities that involve language, business, and occupational skills trainings to facilitate and empower refugee participation.

    “What’s really nice about the project is that it’s the only community space for refugees. There are some people who have been coming to the centre since childhood. There’s also a great relationship there between us (JRS) and the people we serve. This trust and transparency isn’t seen with many other organisations,” says Liana Tepperman, Director of Programs at JRS/USA.

    The effectiveness of the services provided by JRS are recognized by urban refugee stakeholders, including UNHCR who recently helped fund the opening of a new urban Child Protection Centre in July 2017. Several prominent individuals like the UN General Assembly President, and officials from the European Union and US government have made visits to the RCC. They encouraged JRS to continue to take a strong leadership role in urban refugee discussions and actions, as there is still more change to be made.

    https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-confronting-urban-hardship
    #Ethiopie #urban_refugees #réfugiés_urbains #réfugiés #asile #migrations


  • The price of water: South Sudan’s capital goes thirsty as costs soar

    But the eight-year-old’s death – and that of three other boys – could have been easily prevented, had it not been for the price of drinking water in South Sudan’s capital Juba – costing a third of a family’s monthly income.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southsudan-water/the-price-of-water-south-sudans-capital-goes-thirsty-as-costs-soar-idUSKCN1
    #eau #eau_potable #soif #Soudan_du_Sud #Juba #prix #coût


  • Words matter: #Hate_speech and South Sudan

    “South Sudan terrorists need to be killed in order for peace to reign. Lawful killing has been practised by states since time immemorial.”
    These are the words of #Gordon_Buay, deputy chief of mission at South Sudan’s Washington embassy, as posted on his Facebook page. #Buay claims he’s simply defending his government, but some of those working for peace in South Sudan call it hate speech and accuse Buay and other prominent figures in the diaspora of fuelling the terrible conflict in this newborn nation.

    https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2017/09/05/words-matter-hate-speech-and-south-sudan
    #terminologie #racisme #xénophobie #mots #Soudan_du_sud #Sud_Soudan


  • The U.S. wants to deport more Eritreans. Here’s what would happen if they were forced to return.

    “Our goal is to get countries to agree to accept the return of their nationals,” David Lapan, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman, told reporters Wednesday.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/08/24/the-us-wants-to-deport-more-eritreans-heres-what-would-happen-to-the

    #renvois #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_érythréens #Etats-Unis

    On y apprend ici (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/23/4-countries-sanctioned-because-of-refusal-to-accep) qu’il y a 12 pays considérés comme #récalcitrants par les USA:

    Twelve countries are currently on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s list of “recalcitrant” nations that seriously hinder deportations: China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Guinea, Cambodia, Eritrea, Myanmar, Morocco, Hong Kong and South Sudan.

    #Chine #Cuba #Vietnam #Laos #Iran #Guinée #Cambodge #Erythrée #Myanmar #Birmanie #Maroc #Hong_Kong #Soudan_du_Sud #Sud_Soudan

    Les possibles #sanctions?

    He wouldn’t name the four countries that will be hit with visa sanctions, saying it is up to the State Department to decide how severely to punish the countries, but under the law at least some of their citizens — if not all — could be denied the ability to obtain immigrant or visitor visas to travel to the U.S.

    #visas


  • South Sudan, the second time as farce
    http://africasacountry.com/2017/07/south-sudan-the-second-time-as-farce

    For six years rebel forces in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states (the Two Areas) have been battling the Sudanese government. Round after round of negotiations mediated by the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa have failed to bring an end to what is a continuation of the second Sudanese civil war (1983-2005) fought by the Sudan People’s…


  • Cholera Is Slaughtering Yemen and We’re Letting It Happen, by Laurie Garrett | Fortune.com
    http://fortune.com/2017/07/20/cholera-is-slaughtering-yemen-and-were-letting-it-happen

    This is the worst #cholera epidemic in modern history, and it has already spread well beyond the borders of Yemen, though neighboring nations decline to officially report “cholera,” preferring the ambiguous phrase, “acute watery diarrhea.” Even the new director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, plays the name game (…)

    Confronting this catastrophe commands honesty: Cholera is now rampant not only in Yemen, but South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and in refugee camps across the Middle East. Last month, the disease broke out in a luxury hotel in Nairobi, sickening attendees to a health conference. By that time, UNICEF head Anthony Lake said, the #Yemen disaster was growing by 5,000 new cases per day—a pace it has since well exceeded. The true toll may well reach half a million before July ends, and the agony is evident everywhere one looks.

    The horrible irony is that cholera is spreading primarily because Saudi Arabia and its Gulf state allies have been bombing Yemen’s infrastructure to smithereens for months, rendering every water supply contaminated. The reluctance of Ethiopia and other cholera-afflicted nations to truthfully state their health plights is due to the same countries’—Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies—policies of boycotting all trade and food from nations that admit to having the disease. And historically the greatest scourge of the annual Hajj is—you guessed it—cholera.

    et il faut que ce soit publié dans Fortune (!!)


  • Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Get Rid of African Refugees – Foreign Policy
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/27/inside-israels-secret-program-to-get-rid-of-african_refugees_uganda_r

    By the time Benjamin Netanyahu secured a third term as prime minister in 2013, the tensions had hardened into outright hostility. That year, Israel sealed off its border with Egypt and implemented a raft of policies aimed at making life more difficult for asylum-seekers already in Israel. Then it began secretly pressuring Eritreans and Sudanese to leave for unnamed third countries, a shadowy relocation effort in which Semene and thousands like him are now ensnared.

    Israeli officials have kept nearly everything else about this effort secret, even deflecting requests for more information from UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency. But a year-long investigation by Foreign Policy that included interviews with multiple Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers as well as people involved at various stages of the relocation process — including one person who admitted to helping coordinate illegal border crossings — reveals an opaque system of shuffling asylum-seekers from #Israel, via #Rwanda or Uganda, into third countries, where they are no longer anyone’s responsibility.

    It begins with furtive promises by Israeli authorities of asylum and work opportunities in Rwanda and Uganda. Once the Sudanese and Eritrean asylum-seekers reach Kigali or Entebbe, where Uganda’s international airport is located, they describe a remarkably similar ordeal: They meet someone who presents himself as a government agent at the airport, bypass immigration, move to a house or hotel that quickly feels like a prison, and are eventually pressured to leave the country. For the Eritreans, it is from Rwanda to Uganda. For Sudanese, it is from Uganda to South Sudan or Sudan. The process appears designed not just to discard unwanted refugees, but to shield the Israeli, Rwandan, and Ugandan governments from any political or legal accountability.