It’s hard to imagine that life could get much worse for the Rohingya, a stateless Burmese Muslim minority group. But yesterday’s news that Bangladesh has ordered non-governmental organizations to stop providing Rohingya refugees with (already minimal) services will surely increase their suffering.
This post originally appeared at The Hill's Congress Blog.
“I will never be the same. I am not the same as before. That’s the hardest thing.” With these lines Paula, one of Colombia’s more than 4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), started to recount the most excruciating part of her life’s story.
By now you may have heard that refugee marathoner Guor Marial, who was featured on this blog last week, has been allowed to compete as an independent athlete at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The decision, which was confirmed to RI in a letter from International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, is a triumph for Guor and his supporters - some of whom worked tirelessly for months to make his Olympic dream a reality.
In early June, RI visited a clinic in the city of Mafraq in northern Jordan that served refugees along with its regular Jordanian patients. There we met Hala, a woman who had left Syria with her young son. The child’s father had not been able to leave the country, so the two of them had arrived alone and were relying on the goodwill of friends and neighbors to keep them going.
Yesterday's showdown over sanctions in the UN Security Council demonstrated once again that the world can't agree on how to stop the bloodshed in Syria - which begs the question, "Whither Syria?" Or, perhaps more importantly, "Whither the Syrians?"
The protest movement that is now surging through Sudan has been building gradually for months. In the last two weeks, however, public outrage against the government has boiled over – not only in Khartoum, but in other major cities as well.
When you meet a refugee for the first time, it can be difficult to maintain perspective. You are struck immediately by their vulnerability - so much so that you can easily forget they weren’t always this way; that displacement robbed them of the normal existence they once enjoyed.