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Humanitarian activities hindered as violence in Sahel region worsens displacement

Hamidou, 14, an internally displaced Burkinabe, pictured in Kaya, Burkina Faso, February 2020. © UNHCR/Sylvain Cherkaoui

 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is distressed over escalating violence in the Sahel region. The crisis according to the UN Refugee Agency has seen hundreds of innocent civilians targeted in recent weeks, triggered more displacement and seriously hindering humanitarian activities.

The UNHCR said attacks by armed groups and ensuing counter-security operations have led to more people fleeing their homes for security and put even more pressure on stretched host communities, already facing immense hardship from dealing with those displaced, often relatives from previous violence.

The latest attack on the Binedama village in central Mali’s volatile Mopti region, on June 5, killed 26 civilians.

Armed groups also targeted a refugee hosting area  at Intikane in western Niger and killed two refugee leaders and one leader from the local community on 31 May.  This resulted in more than 10,000 people seeking shelter further inland around Telemces where UNHCR and partners have assisted in the rapid provision of some 1,180 temporary shelters. Nevertheless, living conditions there are “deplorable” with water and health major concerns.

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‘’The continuing attacks on civilians in the Sahel which have crippled life in the border towns and areas are unfathomable, incomprehensible. People are being displaced multiple times and are in desperate need of our help. We are doing the best we can to bring in assistance inspite of the challenging times’’ said Millicent Mutuli, UNHCR’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the limitations which arise from the response.

Refugees finding themselves in the Liptako-Gourma, the border triangle where Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger converge, are seeking safety in areas that are also plagued by violence and poverty. Many have been displaced several times.

In response, UNHCR has provided shelter assistance to over 25,000 families and aims to conclude the distribution of relief items to 16,500 families by the end June 2020. However, humanitarian activities are seriously hampered by escalating insecurity, the impact of COVID-19 and a lack of adequate resources.

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Since an initial outbreak in northern Mali in 2011, armed conflict has spread to central Mali, to Niger, to Burkina Faso.

Now one of the fastest growing displacement crises in the world, millions have fled indiscriminate attacks by armed groups against civilians such as summary executions, the widespread use of rape against women, and attacks against state institutions, including schools and health facilities.

In Burkina Faso in particular, the number of IDPs rose from 560,000 in early February to 848,000 at the end of April, representing 288,000 additional people in approximately three months.

‘’The humanitarian situation is extremely dire in the central Sahel.  Displaced families live in overcrowded sites, access to basic services is minimal and we are racing against time to scale up our response in the face of new needs growing faster than available resources,’’ UNHCR’s Mutuli added.

To highlight the immense needs in the region and continue the ongoing response to the deepening crisis, UNHCR will be launching its Sahel Crisis Appeal this Friday, 12 June.

UNHCR staff working with partners and the authorities in the region are assisting desperate populations, but increased insecurity and COVID-19 measures mean our ability to reach all in need in the remote parts of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali is extremely challenging.

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All three countries have weak social infrastructures, which means shelter, food, health and delivery of water to refugees and displaced people remains a priority. Many arrive without any belongings and welcomed by host communities – which despite their generous welcome are at a breaking  point and need supp

 

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Displaced Yemen children at risk of the deadly impacts of severe food insecurity  

Migrants near Budapest

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Malnutrition analysis released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners is extremely concerning. With limited access to food, humanitarian services and health care, displaced children in Yemen are at risk of the deadly impacts of severe food insecurity.

Around 26 per cent of the more than 156,000 people newly displaced this year, in the areas where the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has access, cited food as their main need. This is the second most cited need after shelter and housing, which 65 per cent of people reported as their main need. In areas where there are higher levels of displacement, like Al Hudaydah, Taizz, Al Dhale’e and Marib, higher levels of food needs have also been reported.

“Displaced Yemenis leave their homes with nothing and often find themselves seeking safety in locations where there are no job opportunities and barely enough services, including health care,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Chief of Mission for Yemen.

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“This can leave vulnerable people without enough food to feed their families. Given that UN partners are reporting that acute malnutrition rates among children under five are the highest ever recorded in parts of Yemen, we are extremely worried about children in displaced families.”

The situation in Marib is particularly concerning given that an escalation in hostilities has displaced over 90,000 people to the city and caused a drastic shortage of services. Displaced people in Marib report food to be one of their most urgent needs. Of the displacement sites assessed by IOM in October, some reported that food shortages were a major concern for approximately 50 per cent of their residents.

In response to food insecurity, the emergency aid kits distributed under the Rapid Response Mechanism by IOM to newly displaced families include emergency food rations. IOM also carries out livelihood support activities for displaced communities to help them generate income. Most recently the Organization supported displaced women in making face masks which help their community combat the spread of COVID-19.

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IOM also operates a health centre in Al Jufainah Camp, Yemen’s largest displacement site, and multiple mobile health clinics. In addition to providing primary health care services to over 55 per cent of displaced people in Marib, IOM’s mobile health clinics provide community level access to malnutrition screening for children under the age of five and referral for treatment, in coordination with UNICEF. Given the high demand for such nutritional support, early intervention is vital to reducing avoidable morbidity and mortality among displaced children.

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Nigerians in Spain say no to genocide

Nigerians resident in Spain have kicked against bad governance and brutalitalisation of innocent citizens by security operatives in Nigeria.

They are in solidarity with the #Endsars protesters.

The #Endsars protest  started by young Nigerians to say no to brutality, impunity and gruesome killings in the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the government in the country saw security operatives using live bullets on the protesters last week, October 21, 2020.

In a statement signed by Afolabi Oloko, the Nigerians in Spain said: “In every part  of the world, including Nigeria, we believe protesting is a fundamental right of all citizenry that we can exercise whenever we deem it fit as long as it is civil and devoid of violence but such is not the case in Nigeria where the young future of the country are murdered by their very own government just because they made demands that there must be a reform to the notorious Police department and that the country be reformed in general. Have they asked for too much from a responsible and responsive government?

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“It is so disheartening that after Ten days that the youth refused to back down they resorted to killing, maiming of their own future generations just because they asked and begged for good governance and good policing. It’s a shame that young people are being killed all around the cities of Nigeria from Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Abuja, Ondo , Benin, Porthacort just to mention a few. It was horrendous seeing over seventy people being murdered at night while still protesting unarmed peacefully in Lekki area of Lagos state. They organised by switching off the street light while they carried out their evil deed against defenceless young people of the country and also took away the CCTV. The commander-in-chief of the Armed forces in person of President Muhamodu Buhari must be tried at the International court for genocide against it’s own people.

“We the compatriots far away in Spain are with our young brothers and sister on the streets saying no to bad governance as you’re in our hearts and prayers. We support you in the just cause you’re are fighting. Fighting for one’s future should not be seen as an affront to the authorities, rather they should look inward and realise that the system is rotten and should be cleansed but not killing innocent young men on the streets with Army being deployed to take lives of vibrant and resourceful, frustrated and change hungry citizens.
“Today, we came out in multitude in solidarity with our compatriots back home to say #ENDSARS! #ENDBADGOVERNANCE #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY #ENDCORUPTION #ENDTHEGENOCIDE”

READ  Migrants among most vulnerable, as IOM ramps up coronavirus response worldwide

 

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ILO, IOM sign agreement to strengthen collaboration on migration governance

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today signed an Agreement to create a framework for cooperation and collaboration to enhance the benefits of migration for all.

The framework includes joint support for improved migration governance, capacity building and policy coherence at national, regional and global levels. Other areas of work may also be developed.

The Agreement was signed by Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, and António Vitorino, the IOM Director-General, on Friday at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Ryder said, “this Agreement seals an important alliance between our two organizations. Together, we will be stronger and more effective in both fulfilling our individual mandates and in collaborating on areas that are crucial for reshaping the world of work so that it is more inclusive, equitable and sustainable.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a brutal impact on economies and societies. Vulnerable groups, particularly migrant workers and their families, are being disproportionately hit. There could be no better time to reinforce our partnership and combine our strengths, so that we can help countries and our constituents build back for a better future.”

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DG Vitorino said, “the agreement that we are signing today will help us further solidify our collaboration at the time when joint solutions are so much needed, with a pandemic that is hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. As we move towards post-pandemic recovery, we fully embrace the call to build a better world together, tapping into the added value of each partner. With ILO, we have much to co-create and we look forward to future cooperation within the broader UN family, with our partner governments, private sector and civil society.”

The new ILO-IOM Agreement builds on the agencies’ comparative advantages, expertise, and respective constituencies. By encouraging joint initiatives, the Agreement aims to strengthen international migration governance and boost cooperation, capacity building and joint advocacy to promote migrants’ rights and decent work opportunities.

By encouraging social dialogue, it will allow workers` and employers` organizations – who sit equally with governments in the ILO’s tripartite membership structure – to contribute to policy discussions.

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A workplan will be developed in the next six months to push forward the collaboration at global, regional and country levels and, more importantly, facilitate the implementation of the Agreement in the field, where both agencies are working directly with affected populations.

It will seek to enhance the agencies joint contribution to their member states, UN country teams, and societies to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Agreement will also allow the ILO and IOM to strengthen support for their respective constituencies in implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), and contribute to other global and regional migration policy fora and debates.

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