Displaced in Kachin: Few Good Options

By Melanie Teff

In a recent meeting with a group of people displaced by the conflict in Myanmar’s Kachin State, I was reminded of the lack of options with which many displaced people can be left. When I asked the group why they were unable to return to their home villages, they laughed and pointed behind my head. I turned around and saw a line of at least 50 military trucks on the road behind us. They told me that they had seen at least 200 military trucks pass by the camp that day.

Burma: Adding a Third Dimension

By Lynn Yoshikawa

The International Crisis Group’s (ICG) recent report, “Myanmar: Major Reform Underway,” has re-ignited the intense debate between the Burma policy community’s pro-engagement and pro-isolation camps.

Sudan: A deadly cycle of déjà vu

By Erin Weir
Do you ever feel like you are caught in a bad cycle of déjà vu?

Since June 5th the Nuba people in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state have endured attacks on their homes, executions, arbitrary detention, and – perhaps most terrifying of all – indiscriminate bombing from the air. Roughly 73,000 people have been displaced at the hands of their own government.

In a display that surprises no one, the Government of Sudan is once again mounting a vicious offensive against an ethnic minority inside their own borders.

Europe’s doors are closed to North Africa

By Vincenzo Ampolo
How far is Europe from the turbulence in North Africa? 113 kilometers or 70 miles. The tiny Italian island of Lampedusa sits just off the Tunisian coasts. More than 27,000 people have fled from North Africa since January, with the majority heading to Lampedusa and the final destination of Europe. Since the first few thousands of immigrants started to arrive to the island, they quickly outnumbered the local population and, understandably, some tension arose.

Famine Looms in Somalia as Crisis Marks 20th Year

By Elizabeth Campbell
The potential famine looming in Somalia is not being met with any sense of urgency by the U.S. Government. The humanitarian arm of USAID is currently frozen while the U.S. debates a new policy on the provision of humanitarian assistance in south and central Somalia. If the spring rains fail, recent assessments indicate that nearly five million people in southern and central Somalia will struggle to meet their basic food and water requirements for survival in the coming months.

If Iraq is So Safe, Why Don’t Most Europeans Leave the International Zone?

By Elizabeth Campbell
The UK, Sweden, and the Netherlands in particular have been actively deporting Iraqi asylum seekers to Baghdad and other parts of the country, claiming it is now safe and secure.  In October the European Court of Human Rights in Stasbourg issued a temporary stay of deportations; however, a recent decision by the Court is being interpreted by many governments as a green light to resume forced repatriations. 

If Iraq is so safe, why are the majority of European embassies located in the walled and highly secure and self-contained international zone?  If security has improved so much, why can’t European officials travel outside of the international zone without armed escorts?  Presumably, if the country is deemed unsafe for Europeans, can it be much safer for those Iraqis who faced targeted persecution and extreme violence?  Probably not.

Burma: Release of Aung San Suu Kyi Presents Moment of Hope

By Lynn Yoshikawa

The release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, after 15 years of house arrest, is a thrilling moment for the people of Burma and welcomed by Refugees International as long overdue. She remains wildly popular both at home and abroad despite her long isolation. However, her popularity will not automatically allow her to catalyze political change, as that will be determined by the repressive regime.

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.

Afghan IDPs: Overshadowed by politics

By Lynn Yoshikawa
In preparation for the recent high-profile, regional aid conference, the bustling city of Mazar e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan received a makeover. The wide boulevards were hosed down and police checkpoints scanned passing cars. But as plans came together for the conference, one issue was conspicuously overlooked – that of the thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Afghanistan who struggle to survive in the shadows of the city.

Dadaab Camp: Focusing on the Light

By Refugees International
We started our visit of the Hagadera Camp at Dadaab, in Northeast Kenya, at a meeting with a Field Officer from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The camp is home to 90,000 refugees. Ninety percent have fled the unrest in Somalia and the others are largely from Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda. UNHCR is responsible for coordinating a plethora of services at the camp including healthcare, education, water, protection, and the daily intake of new refugees.
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