International Women’s Day: Not an afterthought

By Melanie Teff
This International Women’s Day, I took a moment to consider the many varied points of view that I heard from and about women during our recent Sudan mission. Their stories are applicable to the situation of many women living in crisis situations around the world.

Washington Circle: Hope and Fear in Southern Sudan

By Briana Orr
When Valentino Achak Deng, the subject of Dave Egger’s best selling novel What is the What speaks, he allows long pauses between sentences during which you can almost hear his audience holding their breath. On Tuesday night, Refugees International’s Washington Circle featured Valentino as part of a panel discussion on “The Year of Sudan: What Lies Ahead” at the Mexican Cultural Institute.

Water: A matter of life and death

By Jennifer Smith
When my colleague Melanie Teff and I visited Upper Nile and Southern Kordofan states a few weeks ago, we spent a lot of time hearing and talking about water. Sudan had been experiencing a drought, and harvests had yielded far less than normal. People were worried. The international community was worried. The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it was increasing its expected number of beneficiaries for food aid in south Sudan this year from 1.1 million to 4.3 million people, a massive increase.

South Sudan: Pointing Fingers, Placing Blame

By Joel Charny
The Financial Times headline sounds the alarm: “Fury at unspent funds for Sudan.” It seems that donor governments are furious at the World Bank for spending only $181 million out of the $524 million in donated funds from the fund it manages to support the recovery and development of local communities in south Sudan.

RI’s Second Annual London Circle

By Eileen Shields-West
Refugees International launched its “Year of Sudan” at historic Walpole House, on Chiswick Mall overlooking the Thames, last Tuesday, February 9. The house, which is famous for its depiction in William Thackery’s Vanity Fair, was filled to the brim with over 90 guests to hear Africa Editor for the Economist, Richard Cockett, interviewed by acclaimed Sudanese-born anchor of BBC’s World News Today, Zeinab Badawi.

UN Security Council: Progress on Sudan, Stagnancy on Somalia

By Michelle Brown

In January, there were two discussions in the United Nations Security Council that are important to Refugees International’s work.  The discussion on Somalia was particularlydisappointing, but we were pleased that the UN Security Council is finally looking at how to respond to the escalating violence in south Sudan.

Southern Sudan: The Trouble with UNMIS

By Erin Weir
Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, announced that the U.S. is … “very concerned that UNMIS take on board and fully implement the portion of its mandate – the critical portion of its mandate – that relates to the protection of civilians.” Ambassador Rice did not, however, elaborate on what the United Nations Mission in Sudan, otherwise known as UNMIS, could do to make protection a reality.

Sudan: Work for the Best, Plan for the Worst

By Jennifer Smith

The escalation of violence in south Sudan should serve as a wake-up call at this critical point in time. Five years ago this week, the government in Khartoum and rebel leaders in south Sudan ended a long and bloody civil war with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Today, with one year left to go before a referendum on southern independence in 2011, the outlook is grim. Last month, the Khartoum government cracked down on protesters and detained senior members of opposition parties.

Ten Humanitarian Headlines for 2010

By Joel Charny
It’s now standard to wrap up the year with lists of ten: best films; greatest sporting moments; most influential people. In the spirit of a hopeful start to the New Year and decade, I propose a different sort of list: ten events we’d like to see in the world of humanitarian action in 2010. None of the mock headlines below herald an era of global peace and harmony. But each of these headlines could plausibly appear in the coming year, and Refugees International will be doing everything in its power to make them happen.

Regional Instability Leaves No Room for Refuge

By Limnyuy Konglim
The conflicts in central and eastern Africa are so intertwined that I sometimes confuse myself when taking in my daily dose of displacement and humanitarian news. For example, this week, MINURCAT, the UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad, deployed peacekeepers to a town in northeast CAR to protect Sudanese refugees from a Central African rebel group. Similarly Uganda’s national army has been allowed to operate in the CAR, Sudan, and DRC in an effort to track down the Ugandan-bred Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group. Throughout 2009 and with increasing intensity in recent months, the LRA has attacked villages and camps in southern Sudan, DRC, and CAR. CAR, itself is host to refugees from Sudan, Congo, and Chad, despite the fact that internally displaced Central Africans have described their current situation as one in which, “God alone is watching us. There is no security.”
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