The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

IRIN: 10 Most Neglected Refugee Crises in the World

nickturse:

1. Sudanese refugees in Chad: Nearly a decade of conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region displaced some 1.8 million Sudanese. Of these, more than 264,000 fled into neighbouring Chad, where they continue to live in 12 camps along the country’s eastern border with Sudan. Chad is one of the world’s poorest countries and, according to UNHCR, the working environment is “extremely challenging” due to the region’s lack of infrastructure and natural resources. Women in the camps report they sometimes have to walk all day to find firewood, and lack of access to arable land has made the refugees almost entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. Several peace accords between the rebels in Darfur and the Sudanese government have failed to calm the region’s volatility, leaving the refugees reluctant to return home. Meanwhile, humanitarian workers say the long-running nature of the crisis has led to donor fatigue.

2.Eritrean refugees in eastern Sudan: Eritreans have been crossing into eastern Sudan since their country started to agitate for independence from Ethiopia in the 1960s and, more recently, to escape Eritrea’s policy of indefinite military conscription. Currently, about 66,000 Eritreans are living in refugee camps in Gedaref, Kassala and Red Sea states, which are among the poorest parts of Sudan, and a further 1,600 cross the border every month. Many of the newer arrivals view Sudan as a transit country, continuing north with the goal of reaching Europe or Israel. This has made them a target for abuse by smugglers and human traffickers. Those who remain in Sudan cannot legally own land or property and struggle to find jobs in the formal sector. In 2002, refugee status was revoked for those who had fled the independence war and subsequent conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, but repatriation was halted in 2004 after widespread international criticism of Eritrea’s human rights record.

3. Sudanese refugees in South Sudan: Over the past 18 months, an estimated 170,000 people have fled conflict between Sudanese government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North in Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, pouring into South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Unity states. Humanitarian agencies are bracing for a further influx once the rainy season comes to an end and impassable roads reopen. Aid workers fear that swelling refugee numbers, flooding and disease outbreaks could aggravate the crisis, and UNHCR is urgently appealing for an additional US$20 million to manage basic needs in the camps. Poor infrastructure in South Sudan has made delivering emergency assistance both expensive and difficult.

4. IDPs in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Defections from the Congolese army, which gave rise to the M23 armed group, have led to a resumption of violence in the DRC’s North Kivu Province in the last six months. More than 260,000 people have been displaced so far, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. A further 68,000 have fled to neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda. The IDPs are living in dozens of makeshift camps across the province, where aid agencies are providing shelter, protection, food and health services, despite a severe funding shortfall and recurrent attacks on aid workers. The new wave of IDPs adds to the 1.7 million already internally displaced in the country, according to UNHCR.

5. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: Muslims from Myanmar’s western Rakhine State - commonly referred to as the Rohingya - are an ethnic minority that has endured systemic discrimination and abuse over the past five decades, including being stripped of their citizenship under a 1982 law. Over the past 50 years, thousands have fled the country, the vast majority to Bangladesh. UNHCR has not been permitted to register new arrivals since mid-1992, but it estimates that there are more than 200,000 Rohingya in the country’s southeast. Only about 30,000 of the refugees are documented and living in one of two government-run camps in Cox’s Bazar District, where they are assisted by UNHCR. International agencies, including UNHCR, have been barred by the Bangladeshi government from providing assistance to the undocumented refugees, many of whom live on the periphery of the official camps. Unofficially, several international NGOs are providing services to these refugees, but it remains unclear how long they will be allowed to do so.

6. Tamil refugees in India: More than three years after the end of Sri Lanka’s protracted civil war, there are more than 100,000 ethnic Tamil Sri Lankans in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, including 68,000 in 112 government-run camps. The largest wave of refugees arrived in the camps between 1983 and 1987, with many staying on and having children. It is estimated that more than half of the current refugee population was born in India and knows little of life back in Sri Lanka. Although UNHCR does not have access to the camps, four NGOs are delivering services to the refugees. Since the war ended, just 5,000 have officially repatriated to Sri Lanka with UNHCR assistance. The vast majority remain reluctant to return, citing ongoing reports of human rights abuses and lack of job opportunities.

7.Afghan refugees in Iran: Afghanistan is the source of one of the world’s largest and most protracted refugee crises, with waves of refugees fleeing the country after the 1979 Soviet invasion, then during Taliban rule in the 1990s, and finally during the last decade of conflict between US-led forces and Taliban insurgents. While much has been written about the 2.7 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the presence of some 900,000 registered refugees and 1.4 million unregistered Afghans in neighboring Iran has received less attention. Most of them live in urban areas where, under the current regime, intolerance of the refugees has grown and their children are excluded from mainstream education. Promises to naturalize some of the unregistered refugees have not materialized, and they are often subject to mass deportations. Experts warn that forced mass return of refugees to Afghanistan would further destabilize the country, which has a limited capacity to provide jobs, basic services and security to returnees.

8. Horn of Africa refugees in Yemen: Yemen has long been a transit country for migrants trying to reach Saudi Arabia in search of work, but since 2006 it has also become home to increasing numbers of refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Despite conflict, poverty and a sometimes xenophobic environment in Yemen, a record 103,000 refugees and migrants arrived in 2011, bringing the total number of registered refugees to 230,000, in addition to an estimated 500,000 migrants. Their presence has been largely overshadowed by last year’s uprising and political crisis, which displaced hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and contributed to rising poverty in a country that was already the region’s poorest. Refugees living in mostly urban areas are forced to compete with locals for scarce jobs and resources, a situation that has aggravated tensions and increased the vulnerability of many refugees. A funding shortfall of about $30 million has forced UNHCR to limit its assistance.

9. Malian IDPs and refugees in neighbouring countries: During and after the April takeover of northern Mali by Tuareg rebels, who were quickly supplanted by Islamist groups, some 34,977 Malians escaped to Burkina Faso, 108,942 fled to Mauritania and 58,312 went to Niger. Some 118,000 Malians have been internally displaced, 35,300 of them within the north itself, in the regions of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu. UNHCR faces severe funding gaps in each of the host countries and in Mali, and increasing insecurity is shrinking humanitarian access to populations in need of protection. For host governments and aid agencies, the refugee influx has compounded the food and livelihoods crisis affecting the Sahel region. Should a planned intervention by the Economic Community of West African States be launched in northern Mali, refugee populations are likely to grow further.

10. IDPs in Colombia: Since the start of the conflict between the Colombian government and armed Marxist guerrillas in the mid-1960s, the threat of violence has forced millions to abandon their homes. Indigenous and Afro-Colombian populations living in remote, rural areas have been particularly affected. The government puts the number of IDPs at 3.6 million, but several NGOs estimate the figure is closer to 5 million, pointing out that many of those displaced have not been officially registered. Most now live on the fringes of Colombia’s towns and cities, where they often struggle to adapt to urban life and face discrimination in the search for jobs and opportunities. Lack of identity documents also excludes many from access to public healthcare. Despite recent peace talks between the government and the guerrillas, it remains unsafe for most of the IDPs to return home, making the need for better integration into host communities a priority.

Various Pakistan News Items

Pakistani suicide bomber kills nine

A suicide bomber blew himself up in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least nine people and wounding 16 others, officials said.

The bomber detonated his explosives just outside the compound of anti-Taliban commander Maulana Nabi, in the town of Spin Tal near the Afghan border, senior administration official Zakir Hussain said.

Seven Pakistani soldiers shot dead

Gunmen stormed a checkpoint in Pakistan’s insurgency-hit southwestern province of Baluchistan on Saturday and shot dead seven soldiers, officials said.

“Armed men surrounded Pashookan post of Pakistan coast guards near the town of Gwadar and gunned down seven soldiers,” local administration chief Sohailur Rehman said, adding that three other soldiers were wounded.

The assailants, believed to be about a dozen, fled on motorbikes after the shooting, another official Rehmat Dashti told AFP.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Baluchistan suffers from Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims and a separatist insurgency which also targets government officials and security agencies.

The impoverished province is one of the most deprived areas of Pakistan where Baluch rebels rose up in 2004, demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the oil, gas and mineral resources in the region.

Pakistan plans to revoke Afghans’ refugee status could displace 3 million

Pakistan plans to cancel refugee status for all Afghans living in the country at the end of this year, leaving some 3 million displaced people – the world’s biggest cluster of refugees – facing possible expulsion to a country that many barely know.

Pushing the refugees into Afghanistan would be likely to create a new crisis for that country, already struggling with an insurgency and an economy almost entirely dependent on the western presence and the illicit drug trade.

The west is pressing Pakistan to reconsider its policy, which puts it at odds with the United Nations and other international partners. The international community and the Afghan government have no strategy prepared to deal with any such influx of people.

Huge numbers of Iraqis still adrift within the country | McClatchy

Another legacy of our foreign adventures:

MOSUL, Iraq — Of all the problems that the U.S. troop withdrawal won’t affect in Iraq, what to do about the number of internally displaced people looms the largest.

As many as 2 million Iraqis — about 6 percent of the country’s estimated population of more than 31 million — are thought to have been forced from the cities and towns where they once lived and are housed in circumstances that feel temporary and makeshift.

More than 500,000 of those are “squatters in slum areas with no assistance or legal right to the properties they occupy,” according to Refugees International, a Washington-based advocacy group. Most can’t go home: Either their homes have been destroyed or hostile ethnic and sectarian groups now control their neighborhoods.

Those who are displaced internally say the Iraqi government has done little or nothing to help them, and in some cases has even prevented them from returning to their homes.

Read more →

brooklynmutt:

The world’s biggest complex of refugee camps is already so full, there are about 70,000 people living outside it. Mostly women and children, they shelter from the elements in domelike huts made from sticks, plastic sheeting and discarded cartons from aid packets. Toilets are scarce, and water is delivered periodically by truck. The conditions in Kenya’s far east are all too familiar to the refugees,
Continue reading… Time.com (click pic)

brooklynmutt:

The world’s biggest complex of refugee camps is already so full, there are about 70,000 people living outside it. Mostly women and children, they shelter from the elements in domelike huts made from sticks, plastic sheeting and discarded cartons from aid packets. Toilets are scarce, and water is delivered periodically by truck.
The conditions in Kenya’s far east are all too familiar to the refugees,

Continue reading… Time.com (click pic)

(Source: TIME, via csmonitor)

newsflick:

A Somali man who fled violence and drought in Somalia with his family sits on the ground outside a food distribution point in the Dadaab refugee camp on July 5. Serious drought in the Horn of Africa has forced thousands of Somalis to cross into Kenya in recent weeks in search of food and water. Many have ended up at Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp with a population of 370,000, AFP reports. (Roberto Schmidt)

newsflick:

A Somali man who fled violence and drought in Somalia with his family sits on the ground outside a food distribution point in the Dadaab refugee camp on July 5. Serious drought in the Horn of Africa has forced thousands of Somalis to cross into Kenya in recent weeks in search of food and water. Many have ended up at Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp with a population of 370,000, AFP reports. (Roberto Schmidt)

(Source: newsflick)

pantslessprogressive:

“This is a starvation war they’re waging.”
Syrian tanks and armed forces entered the village of Badama, near the Turkish border, on Saturday and opened fire on random homes, according to activist Jameel Saib. He told CNN that armed forces also blocked a road leading to the border, which could prevent displaced citizens from obtaining bread and supplies from the bordering village:

If Badama is taken, Syrian refugees who want to escape the violence in  their country will have no medicine or clean water, Saib said.

The UN says more than 10,000 Syrians have fled to Turkey.
[Photo: Syrian boys shout at a refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Altinozu in Hatay province June 17, 2011. Words on the forehead of the boy (L) read “Down with Bashar” and words on his chest read “Children of Heaven”. Credit: Umit Bektas/Reuters]

pantslessprogressive:

“This is a starvation war they’re waging.”

Syrian tanks and armed forces entered the village of Badama, near the Turkish border, on Saturday and opened fire on random homes, according to activist Jameel Saib. He told CNN that armed forces also blocked a road leading to the border, which could prevent displaced citizens from obtaining bread and supplies from the bordering village:

If Badama is taken, Syrian refugees who want to escape the violence in their country will have no medicine or clean water, Saib said.

The UN says more than 10,000 Syrians have fled to Turkey.

[Photo: Syrian boys shout at a refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Altinozu in Hatay province June 17, 2011. Words on the forehead of the boy (L) read “Down with Bashar” and words on his chest read “Children of Heaven”. Credit: Umit Bektas/Reuters]

(via thepoliticalnotebook)