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.
This week, an RI team will depart for North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 500,000 people have been displaced by fighting since April. The mission comes shortly after the fall of the provincial capital of Goma, and with 130,000 people now displaced in Goma and its environs, there could not be a more important time to visit the region.
The French military intervention in Mali is just a few days old, and there is plenty of uncertainty about the operation’s strategy and potential outcomes. But one thing is clear: as this campaign escalates, more civilians are being forced to flee their homes – exacerbating a humanitarian crisis that has plagued Mali for more than a year. Governments and aid agencies in the region must be prepared for the worst and take steps immediately to assist this new wave of displaced Malians....
By any standard, one billion is a daunting number. How many grains of sand is one billion? How long would it take to eat one billion M&Ms? For policymakers and others who deal with national budgets on a daily basis, the concept of ‘one billion’ may not be so hard to grasp. But for most of us it borders on the incomprehensible.
This article originally appeared in The Bangkok Post.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been more successful in mobilising Myanmar's people for change than any figure in recent history. Through her perseverance, she convinced her compatriots that with time, effort and unity of purpose, reform really was possible. The odds were long, but eventually she won and was proved right.
This post originally appeared at UN Dispatch.
At 4:00am on Saturday, the rebel group known as M23 attacked the town of Kibumba in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Equipped with new night vision goggles and 120mm mortars, the rebels quickly overwhelmed the Congolese army (FARDC) and United Nations peacekeeping forces defending the town, which sits just outside the provincial capital of Goma.
This post originally appeared at Think Africa Press.
In a darkly-lit house on a dusty, garbage-strewn street on the outskirts of Bamako, an elderly couple and a man in a white robe are seated on the floor. Amadou, the owner of the home, is approximately 70 years old and a retired gardener. He says that since rebels took over northern Mali last April, 16 members of his extended family have come to live with him, having been forced to flee their hometown of Timbuktu.
Mariella Trager serves as chair of Refugees International's Washington Circle.
By Mariella Trager
Friends of Refugees International came together on Thursday, October 25, at the beautiful Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, DC. Around 100 people gathered for the luncheon, where they explored the ongoing displacement crisis in Syria and RI’s advocacy efforts there.