Stories from Quick Reads and Refugees
Following Burundi President Nkurunziza's announcement of his candidacy for a third term (unconstitutional by Burundi's existing law), a massive humanitarian crisis has hit the country as at least 50,000 refugees have fled the country after scenes of violence were reported in several cities. The occurrence of violence were often posted on social media platforms first under the hashtags #burundichaos or #sindumuja. The following infographic sums up the refugees situation as of May 8:
— Jamii Forums (@JamiiForums) May 9, 2015
Peuhl minorities of Islamic confession have been trying to escape anti-balaka militia since the beginning of the civil war in in the Central African Republic. One of the camps where displaced Peuhl can find protection is the Yaloke camp by the Cameroonian border in the western region. The health situation in the Yaloke camp is critical where death rates is three times higher than other cities in the region. The refugees are not allowed to move out of the Yaloke Camp which has made it difficult for families to reunite. The Reseau Des Journalistes pour les droits de l'homme EN RCA (The Journalist Network for Human Rights in CAR) reports on the situation:
Pour Moussa Saidou, deux de ses enfants l’ont quitté et se retrouvent aujourd’hui à Gamba. « Ils sont partis le jour de l’attaque qui a conduit à la perte de nos bétails. Ils ont fui dans la brousse pour se retrouver à Gamba avant de rejoindre Goré au Tchad, où ils séjournent pour le moment»
Moussa Saidou explains that two of her children have escaped and now find themselves in Gamba. “They left the day of the attack that led to the loss of our livestock. They fled into the forest to find themselves in Gamba before joining Gore in Chad, where they stay for now”.
Facing persecution in Pakistan, many Ahmadiyya Muslims and Christians have taken refuge in Sri Lanka. These refugees are mostly held in Boossa and Mirihana detention centers and have to live on government-provided rations as they are not eligible for work.
According to the media, the Sri Lankan government is preparing to deport about 1,450 Pakistani and 50 Afghan refugees who have apparently fled to rural areas in Sri Lanka. More than 1,400 of the targeted refugees have been registered as asylum seekers at the UN refugee agency office in Colombo.
Human Rights Watch has requested the Sri Lankan government not to summarily deport these minorities. Meanwhile, Pakistan has disowned these refugees and an uncertain future awaits for them if they are deported.
W3Lanka English blog opines:
The practice of deporting them is very unethical. They can be economic migrants per se the claim of the Pakistan government. What if they are actually threatened people?
On June 15, 2014, the Pakistan Army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb, a joint-military operation involving Pakistan against armed insurgent groups such as the Taliban (TTP), al–Qaeda, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).
The operation started exactly a week after the terrorist attack on the Karachi airport. Kashif Aziz at Chowrangi fears that innocent people will suffer and seek refuge elsewhere to avoid the military attacks and the backlash of the militants:
This offensive in Waziristan will bring a fresh wave of IDPs [internally displaced people] to other parts of Pakistan. They need to be accommodated with care.
Hope the operation will end swiftly and without much collateral damage.
POINT, the international conference on political accountability and new technologies in Sarajevo, has used its skills to aid in relief of the ongoing disaster affecting three Balkan countries – Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia. BosniaFloods.org, the first tool developed by the participants, specifically targets Bosnia, because the situation in this country was made particularly abysmal because its government structure hindered disaster coordination.
In Bosnia, the floods and landslides directly affect over 1.36 million people, about 1/4 of the population, and lack of information in English inhibits people abroad who would like to help. The multinational team congregates and translates bits of information currently spread around the web. It addresses their credibility, mindful that in Serbia and possibly elsewhere there were attempts to swindle prospective donors via false bank accounts. Money is probably the easiest kind of aid to send. The people affected also need food, clothes and medical aid that can be delivered from other European countries, as well as volunteers who could coordinate such efforts within their countries.
Former French Defense Minister Finds Excuses for the Alleged Rape of Central African Children by French Soldiers
Afrique Info reports that JP Chevènement, a former defense minister of France, stated on public radio Europe 1 on May 3 that the challenging conditions that French soldiers face in the Central African Republic could explain “behavior of that kind” (see video above). Chevènement was referring to the allegation of child sexual abuse by French troops posted in the Central African Republic. The allegations surfaced after disciplinary proceedings were taken against a United Nations employee accused of leaking the allegations to the French authorities.
“Europe is fighting its own make-believe enemy”: This is the message that a dozen of associations in defense of migrants wanted to convey when they organized a human chain between the tramway station “Droits de l'Homme (Human Rights)” and the EU Parliament station in Strasbourg on November 26. In order to put Human Rights back at the core of Europe” and oppose the policy adopted by the European Agency of Border Control Frontex, protesters held signs that narrate the tragic plight of migrants trying to reach Europe. For the past 20 years, more than 20,000 migrants have died or disappeared trying to make the journey from their hometowns into Europe.
Here are a few photos of the event :
Abidjan and other regions of Côte d'Ivoire have been plagued by heavy downpour and floods for the past weeks [fr]. Local residents got organized on social networks to bring relief to stranded citizens. On twitter and facebook, #CIVSOCIAL is the hashtag for emergency humanitarian reliefs. It was created in 2011 in the aftermath of the post-electoral crisis. The hashtag was revived again as floods marred Abidjan and the rest of the country. The facebook page CIVSOCIAL has collected images, videos and testimonies as well as calls for donations for each afflicted borough. Here is a video of one of the flooded borough :
Djouma and Amadou Moussa are Ibrahim's parents. Djouma and Ibahim are the two lone survivors of an incredibly violent attack by militiamen that took the lives of 5 of Ibrahim's siblings in the Central African Republic, near the border with Cameroon. The militiamen came while Amadou Moussa was away. Djouma, 30, recalls the attack :
They found me with my children in the house; they gathered all the small children and slaughtered them with machetes. They killed six people, including five children in my presence [..] Ibrahim was among the six children they took. When they hit him with the machetes, they thought he was dead.
As seen in the video, Ibrahim bears the scar of the machete attack on his head. But Ibrahim came through, against all odds. Ibrahim's story epitomizes the ongoing plight of refugees from the Central African Republic in Cameroon. 20,000 refugees have crossed the borders since the beginning of the war. A petition was sent to US secretary of State John Kerry to remind him to take the “necessary steps to ensure that the peacekeeping operation is fully funded in FY2015.”
L'Express Mada reports that the entire village of Andranondambo in the South of Madagascar was destroyed [fr] during an inter-village conflict that stems from a dispute over land rights. The civilian conflict, which lasted from May 20 to 22, left no residents of the village alive. One of the military police officers recalls [fr]:
A notre arrivée, un chien errant était en train de dévorer un bras arraché d’ un corps. Dans une maison anéantie par les flammes, nous avons mis la main sur une dépouille. L’air était irrespirable [..] Même l’école publique et l’église d’Andranondambo ont été ravagées. Les toitures en tôle ont été arrachées avec tous les mobiliers.
When we arrived, a dog was eating what was left of a corpse. In a nearby home destroyed by fire, we found more corpses. The stink was unbearable. Even the public school and the church were ravaged. All the materials from houses were taken apart.
The land dispute started in 1991 when an important source of sapphire and mica was discovered in the Andranondambo. The rush of land miners pushed local villagers away to another village Ambatotsivala. Since then, the two villages have been at odds over land rights but the conflict has never reached such a harrowing level of violence until recently.