This month, the Burmese government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) will hold their second round of negotiations so far this year. The long-running Kachin conflict has resulted in more than 100,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), and a permanent cease-fire between the parties is desperately needed. Without it, tens of thousands of civilians will remain cut off from life-saving assistance.
Today is Congress’s last chance to pass a budget deal. Failure to act will result in across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.
While the American people rightly view this as another manufactured crisis from Washington, these capricious cuts could do real damage. If sequestration is allowed to occur, a wide range of programs from education to air travel will be affected, and our fragile economic recovery could stall. Abroad, our reputation will suffer as nations wonder if America really can govern itself.
Life in a displaced persons camp is not easy. Even for the strongest of the strong, surviving in an insecure and inhospitable camp is both physically and emotionally grueling. But for the elderly, disabled, or ill, the demands of camp life can seem insurmountable.
These individuals – especially those without family members to support them – are often the most vulnerable, and their needs are often overlooked.
By Katia Gibergues-Newton, Refugees International Intern
This post originally appeared in The National.
In the last few weeks alone, the country has seen summary executions, the bombing of a major university, and population displacement on a massive and growing scale.
Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp is the largest of its kind in the world: a sprawling, jam-packed community housing nearly half a million vulnerable Somali refugees. During a visit this week to one section of the camp, known as Kambioos, my Refugees International colleague and I met a young Somali man named Ahmed who had just arrived by bus from Nairobi.
Since December, when the Government of Kenya announced that all city-dwelling refugees must move into camps, the situation for tens of thousands refugees has become unbearable. But the good news today is that the Kenyan High Court has granted a temporary order prohibiting the government from implementing its plans.
My colleague Melanie Teff and I have begun a two-week mission in Kenya to assess conditions for Somali refugees. Though we are both eager to get underway, I wish our mission was taking place under different circumstances.
This is an extremely difficult time to be a Somali in Kenya, with the government announcing last month that refugees in urban areas will have to leave the cities and report to refugee camps. The government has also shut down the registration of refugees in urban areas and instructed aid agencies to suspend urban refugee services.