President's Corner: Somali Refugees in Dadaab Need More Support

By Michel Gabaudan

This article originally ran in The Huffington Post.

The Dadaab refugee camp in Northeastern Kenya is over 20 years old and has received successive waves of refugees, reflecting the political turmoil and violence against civilians that continues to engulf Somalia. I visited the camp this week and met with many Somalis who have fled civil war and sought refuge here. After talking with these people, it is clear to me that the United States and the international community must invest in the future of Somalia’s refugees if we want to build a peaceful Somalia.

In the World's Largest Refugee Camp, Complex Problems Remain

By Eileen Shields-West
It is impossible to get your arms around the complexities of housing close to 290,000 refugees in Dadaab, in northeast Kenya. Dadaab is made up of three adjoining camps: Ifo, Hagadera, and Dagahaley. It is especially difficult when the three camps, which were originally meant to accommodate only 90,000 people, have been forced to shelter over 300,000. Today the swelling continues as the conflict in Somalia continues. Somali refugees are streaming into Dadaab at the rate of 6,000 or more a month (400 alone registered the day we came) and there is literally no place for them to go.

Sudan: Reading Tea Leaves

By Eileen Shields-West
Like reading tea leaves, it is hard for any outsider to really decipher how steadfast President Obama’s administration is about its Sudan policy. The only thing many can agree on is that there has been a flurry of activity lately and that is a good thing because in just three months, on Jan. 9, 2011, there will be a referendum in South Sudan about whether it will remain part of the North or make itself a brand new country. Right now, it looks as if the South is bent on independence and the world needs to be ready.

Sudan: Protecting Minorities

By Jennifer Smith
On September 25, Reuters reported worrying comments from the Sudanese Information Minister Kamal Mohamed Obeid related to southerners living in north Sudan if the south votes to secede as expected in the January 2011 referendum. According to the report Mr. Obeid, from the National Congress Party (NCP), said that “If the result of the referendum was separation, then the southerners will not enjoy citizenship rights in the north as they would be considered citizens of another state.” He apparently went on to say "They will not enjoy citizenship rights, jobs or benefits, they will not be allowed to buy or sell in Khartoum market…. We will not even give them a needle in the hospital.”

Washington D.C. buzzes as Sudanese Referenda Approaches

By Refugees International

by Agostine Ndung'u

With the clock ticking towards the historic January 2011 referenda in South Sudan and Abyei, concerns are rising among the international community that preparations on the ground are moving at a dangerously slow pace. Unless precautions are taken immediately, Sudan might just slip back into civil war. To avert this looming danger, humanitarian and advocacy organizations, like Refugees International are abuzz with activity in Washington, D.C. As an intern at RI I attended several events about Sudan this summer that give a glimpse into the concerns felt by the policy community here in Washington.

“Renewing the Pledge” and avoiding humanitarian disaster

By Jennifer Smith
The report “Renewing the Pledge” released yesterday by a group of 26 international NGOs and civil society organizations highlighted the urgency of renewed international attention to Sudan. With less than six months to go before referenda in south Sudan and Abyei determine whether they remain united with the north, there is a laundry list of priority issues that still need to be resolved.

U.S. Engagement in Sudan: Easier Said than Done

By Jennifer Smith
As we move closer to the January 2011 referendum on southern Sudanese independence and a laundry list of unresolved issues remains between the two parties, criticism of U.S. Special Envoy Scott Gration is reaching fever pitch. It is hard to go more than a couple of days without reading an article, paper or blog somewhere in the U.S. complaining about his perceived shortcomings and suggesting that solutions would be just around the corner, if only the Obama Administration could get its act together.

Sudan: Election Observation and Some Wishful Thinking

By Jennifer Smith
Like many others, Refugees International has been watching the Sudanese elections process closely, eagerly awaiting feedback from the various electoral observer missions. Preliminary statements coming out of some of the missions are fairly disappointing. The focus seems to be less on providing an objective assessment of how the process measures up to international standards, and more on excusing certain actions because of low expectations and a political desire for the elections to be seen as a success.

Southern Sudan: Security Gaps Compromise Civilian Protection

By Limnyuy Konglim
Five years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and less than a year away from the referendum on southern independence, the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) still needs to make substantial progress in reforming the security sector and its ability to protect civilians. The pastoralist and farming communities of Sudan have a history of conflict with one another due to competition for grazing land and water for their cattle.

Southern Sudan: The Quest for National Identity

By Limnyuy Konglim

With the southern Sudanese referendum for independence less than a year away, it is a bit puzzling that the south is not overcome by an overwhelming sense of nationalism. It is true that on the eve of the national elections, the increasing number of independent candidates has fractured southern political parties that were previously utilized as national rallying bases.

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