TOKYO, June 30, 2015 / PRNewswire — A press conference was held on June 30, 2015, to announce the release of a new report about the sustainability of global marine fisheries in the 21st century titled “Predicting Future Oceans.” The report is a product of the Nippon Foundation – UBC Nereus Program. It notes that […]Read More
In songs and words of gratitude, the First Lady of Cameroon, Mrs Chantal Biya, Matron of “Les Coccinelles” Primary School Complex at the Unity Palace, yesterday June 30, 2015 joined pupils of the school to celebrate a successful academic year. The ma…Read More
In songs and words of gratitude, the First Lady of Cameroon, Mrs Chantal Biya, matron of “Les Coccinelles” Primary School Complex at the Unity Palace, on June 30, 2015 joined pupils of the school to celebrate a successful academic year. The matron an…Read More
– Charges Highlight Rwanda’s Culture of Impunity, Lack of Human Rights LONDON, June 26, 2015 / PRNewswire – Members of Democracy in Rwanda Now (DIRN), a Rwandan diaspora organization, on Friday praised the recent arrest of Rwanda’s intelligence chief General Karenzi Karake, saying they hope justice will finally be served. Gen. Karake, arrested at the United […]Read More
Madagascar National Day
Press StatementJohn KerrySecretary of State
June 26, 2015
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Madagascar as you celebrate your independence on June 2…Read More
The treaty that created the United Nations turns 70 years old today. On June 26, 1945 leaders from 50 of the original member states gathered in San Francisco to sign the United Nations Charter. Ban Ki Moon is back in the Bay Area today for celebrations to commemorate the event. Mark speaks with historian Stephen Schlesinger who discusses the fascinating–and legitimately entertaining — historiography of the UN Charter. A naked Winston Churchill is central to this story. UN Nerds, international affairs enthusiasts and history buffs will enjoy this conversation. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1LsdWek)
More Trouble in Burundi. The USA and Belgium are in the Thick of It…”One of Burundi’s vice presidents has fled to Belgium, saying he had been threatened after denouncing President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office, an allegation denied by Burundi’s government…Rallies have petered out but the mood remains tense. Three grenade attacks in the capital on Thursday injured several people, the latest in a series of similar assaults in the past week that have killed four people and injured dozens in Bujumbura and other towns. The U.S. embassy said students camped out in a nearby construction site had fled after police entered the area on Thursday, and about 100 had taken refuge in an embassy parking area. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1SNst6C)
Pledges total $3bn for Nepal Recovery…”International donors and multilateral agencies have pledged about $3 billion in aid to help rebuild Nepal as it struggles to recover from a devastating earthquake. The Himalayan nation got the largest pledges from its two giant neighbors, India and China.” (VOA http://bit.ly/1SNrFia)
And the most peaceful country in the world is…According to the nonprofit Institute for Economics and Peace, Iceland, the thinly populated island in the midst of the North Atlantic has retained its place as the most peaceful country in the world. (CNN http://cnn.it/1GtAbuW)
Should I stay, or should I go? South Africa said it may withdraw from the International Criminal Court after controversy rose last week over its refusal to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on genocide charges. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Jlyi9E)
Quote of the Day: “We must face hard truths — if the current rate of new HIV infections continues, merely sustaining the major efforts we already have in place will not be enough to stop deaths from AIDS increasing within five years in many countries,” said Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1QRLcAr)
Authorities in Sierra Leone quarantined three doctors and 28 nurses in the capital Freetown when a mother tested positive for Ebola after giving birth, the health ministry said on Thursday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GKkyS1)
Guinea will put four villages under a 21-day quarantine as part of a robust strategy to stamp out a lingering Ebola epidemic after new cases of the disease were discovered there. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Jlzda9)
The United Nations said it has started an emergency program to distribute planting seeds and medical aid as a food and health crisis looms in northern Cameroon. The region is hosting thousands of refugees and people internally displaced by Boko Haram fighting. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GKkxha)
Warring forces in South Sudan have abducted as many as a thousand more child soldiers in the latest abuses in the 18-month long civil war, monitors said Thursday, amid fresh efforts to bring rivals back to talks. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Lxr42W)
Africa can create jobs, improve social services and cut poverty if its governments can stem the $50 billion a year lost in illicit outflows, mainly through multinationals, campaigners said on Thursday. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1LxqYIK)
A Tanzanian court ordered an Islamist rebel leader on Thursday to be extradited to Uganda to face murder charges, though he said he would appeal against the decision. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Lxrian)
The British government told Ethiopia on Thursday its treatment of an imprisoned opposition figure, who is also a British national, was unacceptable and that the case risked hurting ties between the two countries. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Lxr6bb)
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, joint operations by the Congolese army and the United Nations mission MONUSCO have weakened one of the most active rebel groups in the country. The mission chief said that about a quarter of the combatants with the FRPI rebel group have been taken out of action in the past four weeks. (VOA http://bit.ly/1GKkzFJ)
China’s Defence Ministry on Thursday declined to confirm a report that it was in talks for a military base in Horn of Africa country Djibouti, though it said all countries had an interest in regional peace and stability. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Jlz5aA)
Show me the money…United Nations aid agencies said on Thursday that a $4.5 billion appeal to tackle the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015 was less than a quarter funded, putting millions of vulnerable people at risk, and had already led to cuts in vital assistance. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Lxr5DZ)
Eight international NGOs delivering desperately needed food, blankets and medical aid to war-torn Syria have finally been granted legal status in Turkey after years of deadlocked applications. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1Jlyt4Z)
Journalists face unprecedented threats in President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s Egypt, a watchdog group said Thursday, with the highest number behind bars since it began keeping records in 1990. (AP http://yhoo.it/1GKkthp)
The worst heat wave to hit Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi for nearly 35 years has killed more than 1,000 people, a charity said on Thursday, as morgues ran out of space and public hospitals struggled to cope. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Lxr3Mj)
South Korea on Thursday announced a $14 billion stimulus package to boost its troubled economy, hammered by the deadly MERS outbreak which has dented consumer spending and business sentiment. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1GKkrGb)
A US House of Representatives Homeland Security subcommittee held a hearing Wednesday on the possible security risks involved with resettling some of the estimated 4 million refugees from the brutal civil war in Syria in the United States. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Lxrgiy)
President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a reform of U.S. policies for dealing with kidnappers. Mr. Obama said the U.S. will use “all instruments of national power” to recover Americans held by terrorists in other countries. (VOA http://bit.ly/1LxriHd)
As spotlight returns to decades-long violence against native women and girls in Canada, calls for national inquiry have been rebuffed but groups refuse to give up. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1QRL4kz)
…and the rest
Britain’s Foreign Office has launched an inquiry into its foreign aid spending after a tabloid newspaper reported that it had spent thousands of pounds on initiatives such as Hamlet workshops in Ecuador and a television game show in Ethiopia. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1SNs4kv)
Faced with increasing chaos at its borders, the EU Commission is urging member states to take a tougher stance on migrant returns. Draft conclusions from Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels note that “all tools shall be mobilised to promote readmission of illegal migrants to countries of origin and transit,” and that an increased budget will be made available to support more effective returns. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1QRKRO6)
The Perfect Package for Reducing Poverty Is Made Up of Different Parts (The Conversation http://bit.ly/1QRL5Vr)
Health sector first casualty of Myanmar aid cuts (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1LFQbxx)
When foreign companies want local land (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1KcNp41)
Internet in Africa – Empowerment or Exploitation? (DW http://bit.ly/1LxriqV)
Ten reasons why European governments should back a global tax body (Reuters http://bit.ly/1Jly4zz)
Development finance’s $83bn question: who will pay for gender equality?(Guardian http://bit.ly/1SNs1oO)
Just when I despair that decades of intellectual work on development have fallen on deaf ears, comes stuff like this (Chris Blattman http://bit.ly/1BM8O2R)
Tackling Grand Corruption: Guatemala’s Successful Experiment (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/1KcOXuQ)
Who is the richest man in history? (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1KcOd8X)
Term limits in central Africa: utility or artifact? (Eyes Wide Open http://bit.ly/1KcOkBm)
This giant mural in downtown Oakland Commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations Charter. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1Lx3R0X)
Opening Remarks – Regional Conference on Countering Violent Extremism
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
Thank you and good morning, Deputy President Ruto, Cabinet Secretary Nkaisserry, Ambassador Juma, distinguished guests.
I am honored to lead the U.S. delegation to the East African regional CVE Summit and am happy to see so many partners gathered here in support of our shared struggle against violent extremism.
I applaud the GOK for its leadership in hosting this regional summit. It is very important and showcases an very impressive commitment to strengthening CVE efforts.
Kenya, like its neighbors, has faced difficult terrorism challenges, and I know I speak for everyone in offering my condolences to the citizens of Kenya and other East African nations that have experienced loss and trauma at the hands of violent extremists.
Only yesterday, terrorists exploded a car bomb in Somalia, and of course the recent Garissa attacks in Kenya remain fresh in our minds.
No region, country or community is immune to the threat of violent extremism.
We stand together in support of one another and vow to strengthen our collective efforts, not only to defeat Al Shabab militarily but also to eradicate the roots of violent extremism throughout the region and prevent the next generation of extremist threat from emerging.
In this effort, we are learning from a clear lesson of the past decade: while our military, intelligence, and law enforcement tools are vital to defeating violent extremism in its current forms, only a truly comprehensive strategy, mobilizing a broad range of stakeholders, can address its underlying drivers.
This is why President Obama convened a White House summit last February.
As many of you know personally, this meeting included more than 300 participants from national and local governments, civil society, multilateral bodies, and the global business and faith communities.
It was a new, and different, type of global conversation about terrorism because it emphasized the need to 1) work preventively to tackle the underlying drivers of VE, 2) include all of civil society in this work, 3) promote the role of good governance to protect and include all citizens and 4) maximize impact by integrating national and local, and government and non-governmental approaches.
At the White House Summit, President Obama described how violent extremism breeds by exploiting a range of economic, social, and political grievances.
When people “feel entirely trapped in impoverished communities,” he argued, “where there is no order and no path for advancement, where there are no educational opportunities, where there are no ways to support families, and no escape from the injustice and the humiliation of corruption – that feeds instability and disorder and makes those communities ripe for extremist recruitment.”
He explained that social marginalization “feeds a cycle of fear and resentment and a sense of injustice upon which extremists prey.”
Political grievances matter, he said because “when people are oppressed, and human rights are denied – particularly along sectarian or ethnic lines – when dissent is silenced, it feeds violent extremism.”
With these words, President Obama described some of the push factors that make people more vulnerable to radicalization by violent extremists, who then wield their narratives, messages and ideologies to pull individuals, and even whole communities, into their orbit.
Disrupting both these push and pull factors demands a ‘whole-of-society’ approach.
While we rely upon government security and law enforcement services to defeat the active terrorists, becoming more proactive, working to prevent the NEXT generation of violent extremism, requires everyone to become part of the solution.
And the preventive CVE agenda is fundamentally constructive and positive.
It seeks to address tangible human needs and empower communities to physically, psychologically and intellectually resist the falsehoods and distortions of extremism.
I’ve attended several regional CVE summits, and each reflects the dominant concerns within the hosting region.
This is why Kenya’s regional CVE summit is so important.
While summits in Oslo and Tirana focused largely on individual FTF recruitment, this summit usefully expands the agenda to examine community mobilization by terror networks.
The agenda will seek to integrate lessons from the emergence of – and responses to – insurgencies, which can emerge from push factors similar to those that create vulnerabilities to violent extremism.
Yet the key new insight we bring to this discussion of addressing push factors is the value of non-governmental action.
For example, civil society can give at-risk populations like youth a new sense of purpose and community by engaging them through educational, service or mentoring programs.
Similarly, the private sector can expand opportunities in vulnerable communities to enable greater economic security.
Religious and cultural leaders can lend their voices to challenge extremist narratives and propaganda.
And governments have complex roles.
To enable civil society to contribute to the prevention effort, governments need to protect space for those groups to act.
To be frank, this is why the United States is disappointed that some of the Kenyan civil society groups so central to the discussion about security and terrorism such as Muhuri and Haki Africa, which President Obama welcomed at the February White House summit – are not able to participate in our discussion today.
Governments are stronger in their fight against extremism when they make all citizens feel included, protected and respected.
At a minimum, governments should not create grievances by tolerating incompetence, corruption, or the abuse of human rights.
As Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon remarked at the Summit in February, “governments should not use the fight against terrorism and extremism as a pretext to attack one’s critics.
Extremists deliberately seek to incite such overreactions, and we must not fall into those traps.”
The Term “government” does not just mean national authorities, of course.
Local government is at the front-line in both identifying early signs of radicalization and partnering with communities to counter it.
Cities and other sub-national actors are vital to this effort, and their contributions to CVE are growing every month.
To support their efforts, we anticipate launching a ‘Strong Cities Network’ at the September CVE Leaders’ event in New York, which will connect municipal policymakers and practitioners from around the world to identify and exchange best CVE practices.
We strongly encourage cities from across this region to become members of this new platform.
As participants work on their national action plans and anticipate the next high-level summit on the margins of the UNGA this September, let me briefly remind us of the agenda that states and civil society crafted in February:
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ First, we must better understand the threat of violent extremism at the local and regional levels.
That means strengthening our research and information-sharing on the key drivers of radicalization and the most effective strategies for building community resilience to prevent this.
To build momentum for this effort, we are sponsoring an International CVE Research Conference this September in New York, which will culminate in the launch of a global network of local researchers to conduct community-based analysis on the drivers of violent extremism and facilitate the design, funding and dissemination of CVE-related research.
I encourage participants at this Summit to contribute by supporting and sharing similar research to better identify the key drivers of violent extremism in East Africa and highlight promising efforts to address it.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Second, we must empower civil society as core partners in the struggle against violent extremism, with a particular emphasis on youth, religious leaders, women, and the victims of violent extremism.
Local groups are best positioned to lead efforts to counter violent extremism, as they often have the greatest knowledge and credibility to address its underlying drivers.
Because civil society plays such a critical role in countering violent extremism, they must have a meaningful seat at the table and safe space to operate.
That is why the U.S. is supporting efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to work with countries around the world to develop inclusive CVE strategies that draw on a range of stakeholders both in and out of government.
In developing our own U.S. domestic National Action Plan, painstaking and patient relationship building and consultation with civil society made all the difference.
My colleague Dr. Ronald Clark from our Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is here today and would be happy to share the US experience with those who are interested.
When I visited the region earlier this year, promising community-driven CVE initiatives in Mombasa and in Zanzibar showed me how communities were improving cooperation with security forces and how local government was beginning to test innovative efforts of community service and religious scholarship to help at risk youth, former VE recruits, come back into society.
Supporting youth in this manner is critical to countering violent extremism in the long run.
Last month at the European regional CVE summit in Oslo, Norway, participants launched a regional youth network against violent extremism.
This network will serve as a platform for young people to share their challenges in pushing back against radical recruiters and propaganda, and to exchange youth-driven approaches and technologies for countering violent extremism.
I hope civil society representatives at today’s summit consider adopting a similar model for East Africa.
I would be remiss to not also mention the importance of women and girls, who as victims, potential recruits and perpetrators of violent extremism, are also on the frontline in this struggle.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Third, we must strengthen human rights protections for members of all of our communities, with a renewed focus on including ethnic and religious minorities.
When all communities feel protected and respected by the law, violent extremists struggle to exploit feelings of marginalization.
Too often, however, there is deep mistrust between marginalized communities and security and police forces.
The mistrust is exploited by violent extremists to infiltrate members of marginalized communities, who are in turn less likely to cooperate with police and security forces to drive extremists out.
We can avoid this trap by working now to build mutual trust and respect between police and security force and at-risk communities, and by improving accountability and respect for human rights within these forces.
Government and law enforcement can show their commitment to the communities they are meant to serve and help ease the tensions that violent extremists exploit.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Fourth, we must counter the narratives of violent extremists by amplifying authentic voices from at-risk communities.
That means harnessing the power and reach of traditional and social media to discredit the messages of violent extremists with credible voices, while offering positive and empowering alternatives.
It is clear that there will be a long-term need to maintain this messaging effort, and I encourage governments and civil society participants gathered here to think about developing a platform that could coordinate and sustain this effort.
Such a platform could support new initiatives, such as providing social media training to mainstream religious scholars to better disseminate their message to at-risk audiences, or by developing public messaging campaigns with popular voices from arts, sports and entertainment to challenge extremist propaganda.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ And finally, we must address the social and economic grievances that violent extremists exploit by working with at-risk communities to better understand those grievances and design effective responses, whether they are in the areas of social services, education, employment opportunities, or security and justice.
I’d like to highlight these areas as key opportunities for large institutional financial actors such as the World Bank or the African Development Bank as well as bilateral foreign donors.
But we must be realistic as we seek to take on “root causes” – recognizing that we cannot address every area or cause in the short term.
Governments in their NAPs should think deeply about the areas or communities that are MOST vulnerable to the lure of extremism.
Prioritizing and focusing prevention efforts in these communities is absolutely critical in creating a NAP that can actually be implemented and yield results.
Furthermore, the NAPs can then become useful tools for dialogue with outside actors who wish to use mainstream economic and development tools to support governments and communities in our shared fight against violent extremism.
We will leave this Summit with not only new ideas, but a renewed sense of partnership and determination to tackle the threat of violent extremism.
And in September at the 70th UNGA, we will learn how each of your governments or organizations is stepping up to meet this generational challenge.
There is no single way forward, and as Ambassador Juma said, no silver bullet, no one government or organization has a monopoly on good ideas.
I am confident that with the energy and talent gathered in this room, we can move forward together, and have even more to share in the global discussion in New York this September.
The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
Mozambican National Day
Secretary of State
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send best wishes to all Mozambicans as you celebrate the 40th anniversary of your independence on June 25.
Your country is truly special to me, as it is the birthplace of my wife, Teresa. Our house resonates with the sound of Portuguese, as well as Teresa’s fond recollections of heading into the bush with her father, a doctor, to tag along as he cared for patients. A map of Mozambique hangs in our home.
This year represents a milestone in the history of U.S.–Mozambique relations. For the past 40 years, our relationship has grown to reflect our shared commitment to achieving lasting peace, progress, and shared prosperity for all people.
Together, we are partnering to strengthen democracy, promote trade and investment, improve health, expand educational opportunities, conserve the environment, and combat transnational crime.
On this day of celebration, Teresa joins me in wishing her fellow Mozambican people peace, joy, and prosperity in the year ahead.
The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
African securityNiger attacks Boko Haram targets after militants intensify activity inside Niger
Niger’s army has said it killed fifteen Boko Haram militants in land and air operations against the Islamist group. Earlier this year, frustrated by the Nigerian army’s ineffectiveness, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger told Nigeria that they would join the war against the Islamists – including conducting operations inside Nigeria. The military operations by the three countries have pushed Boko Haram out of many areas it used to control – but in retaliation, Boko Haram has intensified its attacks on Nigeria’s three neighbors.
Niger’s army has said it killed fifteen Boko Haram militants in land and air operations against the Islamist group. The army said it also took twenty prisoners and destroyed an armored vehicle, twenty-six motorbikes, and two caches of food and fuel.
Colonel Moustapha Ledru of the Niger army did not say whether the Chadian army, which has positioned large numbers of troops in Niger, had participated in the operation. Ledru also refused to answer questions about whether the operations have taken place in Niger or inside neighboring Nigeria.
VOA reports that since 2009, when Boko Haram launched its campaign to establish a strict Islamic state in Nigeria’s north east, the Nigerian military has proven itself no match for the militants. Hollowed out by corruption and demoralized by incompetent leadership, the army’s ineffectiveness allowed Boko haram to expand its control over larger areas, and expand its area of operations.
Nigeria refused offers of help from neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger – but earlier this year, when Boko Haram, unmolested by the Nigerian military, began to operate inside these three countries, they told former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan that they would begin a military campaign against the militants – including attacking Boko Haram in Nigerian soil. Jonathan, who was locked in a tight presidential election campaign – which he would subsequently lose – accepted the ultimatum of Nigeria’s neighbors, and allowed their armies and air forces to operate inside Nigeria.
The tide of the war against the militants had turned, and Boko Haram had been pushed back from many areas it used to control.
The Chad air force had proved especially effective, inflicting heavy losses on the militants.
The Nigerian army also appeared to have been invigorated by the performance of its neighbors, and in the last few months showed itself to me a more effective fighting machine.
In an effort to retaliate against the growing involvement of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger in the war, Boko Haram has increased its terror activities inside these countries. A double suicide attack carried out by Boko Haram caused carnage in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, earlier in June, killing thirty-three people and wounding more than 100 others. The announcement by the Niger army’s operation came after an attack by Boko Haram militants in south-east Niger last week killed thirty-eight civilians, most of them women and children. The attack in Diffa province near Nigeria was the deadliest in Niger by the jihadist group since a raid in April killed seventy-four people.
Niger’s interior minister has ordered the military to conduct air and land operations as the country’s security forces seek to “capture and neutralize” the attackers.
Earlier this week, Boko Haram gunmen killed at least forty-two people in two separate attacks in north-east Nigeria, as the Islamist group continues to attack civilians.
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WASHINGTON, June 24, 2015 / PRNewswire — As world leaders prepare to gather later this month in Ethiopia to chart the future of financing for global development, researchers are showing how investments in women’s health and education can have a critical and enduring impact on the well-being of women and children, and by extension, households […]Read More
WASHINGTON, 24 juin 2015 / PRNewswire — Alors que les dirigeants du monde vont se réunir vers la fin de ce mois en Éthiopie pour planifier le financement futur du développement mondial, les chercheurs montrent comment les investissements promouvant la santé et l’éducation des femmes peuvent avoir un impact essentiel et durable sur le bien-être […]Read More
Today, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, signed the Central Africa Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for an amount of €350 million for the period 2014-2020.
The signature took place in the presence of Ministers and representatives of the Central African region, the Secretary General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and the President of the Commission for Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).
The programme, whose implementation will be monitored by a steering committee, will cover three areas: political integration and cooperation in peace and security (€43 million), regional economic integration and trade (€211 million, of which €135 million will go through the Infrastructure Trust Fund), and the sustainable development of natural resources and biodiversity (€88 million). Another €8 million is set aside to support technical cooperation and regional authorising officers.
Commissioner Neven Mimica said: “Regional integration is only viable when driven from within the region. It is a means to fulfill the policy objectives set out in the Cotonou Agreement, and to build on the achievements which ECCAS and CEMAC have already made, in economic and monetary integration, in peace and security, in infrastructure and in environment and natural resources.”
The region of Central Africa includes 11 countries: Angola, Burundi, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Sao Tomé and Principe. It has to be noted, however, that Equatorial Guinea never signed the revised Cotonou Agreement, and can therefore not directly benefit from EDF funding. The region has a total population of about 160 million with the Democratic Republic of Congo accounting for nearly half. It is a region rich in natural resources, covering the largest tropical forest area after the Amazon.
Previous funding for Central Africa under the 10th European Development Fund amounted to €165 million.
For more information see also:
Press release: The EU boosts its support to recovery and development in the Central African Republic
Factsheet: The EU engagement with the Central African Republic (CAR)Read More
Meanwhile, a grenade attack in a bar killed four people. These attacks are becoming more commonplace in the run up to the presidential elections next month. “The EU is determined to adopt, if necessary, targeted restrictive measures against those whose actions might have led or might lead to acts of violence and repression and serious human rights violations,” EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg said in a statement. The European Union funds about half the annual budget of Burundi, one of the world’s poorest nations, and diplomats have said in the past donors would seek targeted sanctions rather than broad steps that could harm the population.” (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1GjuMq6)
More Violence in Northern Nigeria…”As many as 30 people were killed Monday after a bomb exploded at a bus station in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, in an attack likely to be blamed on the rebel group Boko Haram. The blast occurred near a fish market in the Baga Road area of the city, which has been repeatedly targeted in recent weeks by shelling, bombs and suicide attacks.” (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1Lh9b7m )
Quote of the Day The Pope is on a Roll: “It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause. He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/1Gju10o)
Eritrea has defended its controversial policy of decades-long national service from which some 5,000 people flee each month, saying it has “no other choice” due to threats from long-standing enemy Ethiopia. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1IudO98)
European Union foreign ministers threatened to sanction individuals involved in Burundi’s political violence. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1N0YYdI)
Amnesty International called on Cameroon to immediately release 84 children who have been held for months without charge, after the teachers at their Quranic schools were accused of running terrorist training camps. (DW http://bit.ly/1GCzC47)
Somalia’s security agency said Monday it carried out a night raid on key targets inside a Shebab-controlled town in southern Somalia, targeting “senior” commanders. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1IudR4B)
Anglo-Irish company Tullow Oil said Monday it had settled a long-running tax dispute in Uganda by agreeing to the payment of a $250 million bill. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1IudQhj)
Israel disputed on Monday the findings of a U.N. report that it may have committed war crimes in the 2014 Gaza conflict, saying its forces acted “according to the highest international standards”. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1H6RBRZ)
Israeli Druze blocked an Israeli army ambulance they believed was transporting wounded Syrian rebels on Monday, local authorities said, a rare confrontation underscoring Druze concern for brethren caught up in the civil war next door. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1H6Rxl5)
The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists is urging Egypt to stop what it describes as “a politically motivated campaign” against the pan-Arabic Al Jazeera network. A CPJ statement Sunday also called on Germany to release jailed Al Jazeera reporter Ahmad Mansour immediately. (VOA http://bit.ly/1TI2C1k)
An intense heat wave over three days has killed more than 180 people in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, officials said on Monday, leading authorities to declare an emergency as the electricity grid crashed and bodies stacked up in the morgues. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1H6RvcY)
A co-ordinated Taliban attack on the Afghan parliament in Kabul has ended with all six gunmen killed, the interior ministry says. (BBC http://bbc.in/1Gjva8b)
Human Rights Watch on Monday criticized a Malaysian Islamic court for fining nine Muslim transgender women for cross-dressing and jailing two of them for a month. (AP http://yhoo.it/1H6RrK6)
Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is running for president next year, has resigned from the cabinet in a break with President Benigno Aquino as he is investigated for corruption. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1H6RDJl)
Malaysian authorities Monday gave a Muslim burial to 21 human trafficking victims, believed to be Rohingya Muslim refugees, found in shallow graves in jungles bordering Thailand. (AP http://yhoo.it/1IudNlm)
Malaysia has stepped up health screenings at all entry points into the country, after the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was reported in neighboring Thailand last week. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1IudMxT)
Authorities in Chile’s capital Santiago have imposed emergency measures amid rising pollution. According to city officials, pollution has reached a “critical level”. (BBC http://bbc.in/1Lw2Bb2)
Dozens of Central American migrants say they have managed to escape from a gang that abducted them in southern Mexico. They migrants told police they had been held for hours by armed men who stopped their bus, but later fought back and broke free from their captors. (BBC http://bbc.in/1Lw2Bru)
El Salvador has just experienced one of its most violent months since the end of the civil war in 1992, with 635 homicides reported in May for the country of just over 6 million people. June is on track to break that mark, with the latest bloodshed coming Sunday when suspected gang members killed two soldiers guarding a bus terminal in the capital. (AP http://yhoo.it/1H6RtBH)
…and the rest
The European Union launched a naval operation Monday to try to stop human-traffickers from bringing migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe in unseaworthy boats, a lucrative and at times deadly practice. (AP http://yhoo.it/1IudM0M)
Russia plans to extend a ban on Western food imports for six months starting from early August and may add new products to the list, in retaliation to extended European sanctions against Moscow, officials said on Monday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1eDO7vu)
Former Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky served four presidents and tells some great stories from her career in foreign policy. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1Lh9uyZ)
Pope Francis’ Timely Call to Action on Climate Change (IPS http://bit.ly/1Lw1k3J)
If we want to end poverty, we need to be able to measure it properly (Guardian http://bit.ly/1eDOWEN)
Argentine women hit back at violence (BBC http://bbc.in/1THXA4O)
Is South Africa On a Slippery Slope? (GroundUp http://bit.ly/1GCzv8E)
What if Beijing and Washington understood each other perfectly…but still clashed? (The Interpreter http://bit.ly/1dbwiCu)
We must protect women and girls during crises (Devex http://bit.ly/1dbwuBJ)
On Child Mortality (An Africanist Perspective http://bit.ly/1eDRra7)
Anticorruption Co-opted: Problems with the Purported Polygamy-Corruption Connection (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/1QM9PhQ)
The failure of the TPP matters, but not for economic reasons (The Interpreter http://bit.ly/1QM9QT2)
NINGBO, China, June 23, 2015 / PRNewswire — Recently, PHOTON Lab announced the results of the 2014 outdoor modules tests. Risen Energy’s SYP190S-M mono modules won No.2 with excellent performance and quality. It’s the second time for Risen Energy. PHOTON Lab is one of the world’s most authoritative testing organizations. It applies precise comparative tests […]Read More
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., June 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — House of Sillage, a leading name in the world of Haute Parfumerie, is delighted to announce the much-anticipated release of its very first Men’s fragrance, DIGNIFIED by House of Sillage. Created for the man who provokes envy and admiration, a new class of man who cares […]Read More
– Real-time, searchable visualization mapping platform enables better decision making SAN DIEGO, June 22, 2015 / PRNewswire — RippleNami, the leader in collecting, organizing and visualizing global data, today announced the debut of rWAVES™. Designed to fundamentally change how customers interact with the world around them, rWAVES seamlessly integrates physical and digital information using maps […]Read More
– La plateforme de cartographie et de visualisation consultable en temps réel permet une meilleure prise de décision SAN DIEGO, 22 juin 2015 /PRNewswire/ — RippleNami, le leader dans la collecte, l’organisation et la visualisation des données mondiales, a annoncé aujourd’hui le lancement de rWAVES™. Conçue pour changer fondamentalement la façon dont les clients interagissent […]Read More
The United States Praises the Peace Deal Reached in Mali
Press StatementJohn KirbyDepartment Spokesperson
June 21, 2015
We wish to congratulate the Malian people, including the parties to the peace negotiations undertaken in Algiers…Read More
Who is a refugee?
Every year natural disasters, conflicts and human rights violations force millions of people to leave their homes and to flee to save their lives. Their survival often depends on international assistance and protection.
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her home country and is unable or unwilling to return because of fear of persecution. The 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees gives refugees legal protection under the international refugee law. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to respond to refugee needs.
An internally displaced person (IDP) is someone who was forced to flee his/her home but who did not cross a state border. IDPs benefit from the legal protection of international human rights law and, in armed conflict, international humanitarian law.
However, IDPs do not benefit from the specialised protection of international refugee law. No UN or international agency has been formally mandated to assist them. National governments have the primary responsibility for the security and well-being of all displaced people on their territory, but often they are unable or unwilling to comply with this obligation. The most important reference document to address the issue of protection and assistance to IDPs is the non-binding Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement from 1998. The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance to IDPs in Africa (the so called Kampala Convention), which entered into force in 2012, is the first ever binding international legal instrument on the rights of IDPs.
How many refugees are there?
Today, there are more than 59.5 million people in need of help and protection as a consequence of forced displacement, more than at any time since comprehensive statistics have been collected, with the continuing crises in Syria, Central African Republic and South Sudan and Ukraine as major aggravating factors. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), globally some 38.2 million people are IDPs, around 19.5 million are refugees and 1.8 million people applied for asylum in 2014. Together, these forcibly displaced people represent the combined population of greater London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Vienna, Budapest, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Stockholm, Lisbon, Warsaw, Athens, Barcelona and Brussels.
According to the latest UNHCR data, about half of the global refugee population are children under 18, the highest proportion in more than a decade. About half of the entire refugee population are women and girls. In many societies, they face specific risks such as discrimination and are less likely than men and boys to have access to basic rights.
Syria became the world’s largest source country of refugees during 2014 with an estimated 3.9 million people, overtaking Afghanistan, which had held this position for more than 30 years. Somalia, Sudan, South-Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar follow. It is estimated that around 45% of the world’s refugees are trapped in protracted situations (in exile for five years or more without prospects of immediate durable solutions).
For humanitarian workers, helping the displaced is becoming more difficult, costly and dangerous. In countries such as Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Central African Republic, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen or Iraq, getting help to internally displaced populations means working in environments where access is difficult and conflict or criminality present deadly risks.
86% of today’s refugees live in the developing world, which means that they find refuge in countries and among people who already struggle with poverty and hardship. Greater international solidarity is needed to address this challenge.
According to the UNHCR, out of the total 14.4 million refugees in the world in 2014, more than 1 million were in the EU.
What is World Refugee Day?
Each year, on 20 June, the world focuses on the plight of people who are forced to flee their homes due to conflicts or natural disasters. This day has been significant since 2001, when the UN General Assembly designated it on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
Humanitarian situation and needs
Many of the people forced to flee and abandon their homes often have to do this at very short notice and to leave with nothing or very few possessions. Particularly in volatile contexts, they rely on local communities and international humanitarian aid for their survival. Too often, their flight to safety turns into protracted and long term displacement, as the problems that uprooted them take a long time to resolve.
Sustainable solutions for refugees include voluntary repatriation to their home countries, which is the preferred long-term outcome for the majority of refugees. Another solution is local integration or resettlement either in the asylum country where they are living or in third countries where they can be permanently resettled. The IDPs can be reintegrated in their place of origin (return), integrated in areas where they have taken refuge (local integration), or integrated in another part of the country (settlement elsewhere).
Refugees and those internally displaced (IDPs) face major challenges in terms of protection, access to shelter, food and other basic services such as health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene and education. Those who end up living in urban areas (IDP’s, refugees) may encounter poverty, lack of psychosocial support and difficulties in normalizing their status. Violence, abuse and exploitation against the most vulnerable often peak in the aftermath of emergencies, which underlines the importance of effective protection mechanisms to be put in place immediately.
The patterns of displacement are increasingly complex, as large numbers of migrants flow inside and between countries and regions. Their problems, and the burden on host countries, are worsened by climate change, increasing urbanisation, population growth and food insecurity. At the same time, the efforts of the humanitarian community to bring relief and contribute to lasting solutions are made more difficult by donors’ budgetary constraints, triggered by the global financial and economic crisis and the multiplication of crisis in need of funding.
The European Commission’s humanitarian response
Refugees are among the most vulnerable in humanitarian crises. This is why the European Commission provides substantial resources to help them. The European Commission gave more than €854 million or some 70% of its annual humanitarian aid budget in 2014 to projects helping refugees and IDPs in 33 countries worldwide. The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) invests heavily in assisting displaced people and is currently responding to crises such as: Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan, Somali refugees in Kenya and Yemen, Congolese refugees in the Great Lake region, Colombian refugees in Ecuador and Venezuela, Myanmar refugees in Thailand, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Sahrawi refugees.
Humanitarian aid delivered by the European Commission helps:
- meet the most pressing needs of refugees;
- protect and support refugees during their displacement and when returning to their place of origin;
- increase the self-reliance of refugees and reduce their ‘dependency syndrome’.
The Commission focuses its support on organisations dealing with migrants, refugees and IDPs including the UNHCR, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Red Cross and Red Crescent family and non-governmental organisations. The three above-mentioned organization remained in 2014 among the first five humanitarian aid partner of the Commission, in terms of volume of funding (2. ICRC, 3. UNHCR, 5. IOM).
Through this support, the Commission’s action paves the way for durable solutions for refugees and IDPs. It coordinates its assistance with the organisations in charge of early recovery and development.
While supporting the victims of displacement, the European Commission is also working to decrease the number and scale of refugee crises: for instance, through its work on disaster preparedness and prevention, which aims to reduce the vulnerability of disadvantaged communities and prevent their displacement.
Refugees and development policy
The European Commission also provides development assistance to tackle the challenges related to forced displacement, since there is growing recognition of the importance of refugees and IDPs to the economy and development, with the potential to contribute to the economy of hosting countries (also acknowledged by the European Council in 2013).
This is particularly relevant in the case of refugees who are displaced for the long term; either in camps or urban areas (known as protracted displacement). These challenges must therefore be addressed by long-term development strategies in order to enable the refugees to be self-reliant and to support host communities.
The Commission is already a leading international donor in terms of support for refugees in developing countries with €200 million in ongoing projects from development funds.
In addition, the European Commission is currently working on developing new, more comprehensive and multi-sectoral approaches aimed at seeing sustainable solutions for refugees, IDPs and returnees. The objective is to ensure that development actors, together with humanitarian actors, will engage to address the crisis that forces the population to flee from the beginning in order to prevent that displacement turns into a permanent situation.
The humanitarian consequences of the crisis in Syria have reached an unprecedented scale. Around 11.5 million Syrians are internally displaced or are living as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, North Africa and the EU. Many of those who were able to reach the neighbouring countries are now living in hardship; struggling to find shelter and food for their families and schooling for their children. The European Union is a leading donor in the response to the Syria crisis with around €3.6 billion of total budget mobilised by the Commission and Member States collectively in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance. EU humanitarian assistance channelled through the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) primarily supports life-saving medical emergency responses, the provision of essential drugs, food and nutritional items, safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), shelter, distribution of basic non-food items and protection programmes. This funding is channelled through UN agencies and accredited international humanitarian organisations to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people.
In 2015, the Commission has increased its humanitarian assistance to the Syria crisis by €136 million, half of which will go to meet needs inside Syria, and the other half to Syrian refugees and host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. This includes €2.5 million to respond to the emergency inside Yarmouk refugee camp.
A new EU comprehensive strategy has been developed to tackle the crises in Syria and Iraq, which will include €1 billion in funding over the next two years. The new strategy will champion activities from several EU instruments and increase the impact of Europe’s solidarity and political support. This will include enhancing economic resilience among refugee and host communities especially to promote prospects for young people.
The Third International Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait City was held on 31 March 2015. During the conference, donors pledged a total of US$3.8 billion in humanitarian and development assistance to the Syria crisis out of which the EU and its Member States pledged €1.1 billion – the largest pledge by any donor.
To strengthen the development and protection capacities in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, and to enable Syrian refugees to tap into their own potentials, the European Commission is funding a Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP) in the region. The programme combines efforts to improve protection of refugees with longer-term livelihood support to host communities and, whenever possible, refugees alike. The Commission is currently also developing RDPPs for the Horn of Africa and North Africa in close collaboration with EU Member States.
The on-going crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) has forced an estimated 220 000 people since December 2013 to flee to Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo, bringing the number of Central African refugees in neighbouring countries to over 462 000 people. The European Union is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to CAR with over EUR 186 million provided since 2014. The European Commission alone has provided EUR 69 million (including about EUR 20 million for CAR refugees in neighbouring countries) in humanitarian aid since December 2013.
Almost half of the funding is spent in Chad, which was facing the biggest influx of people fleeing CAR at the beginning of the crisis, €7.8 million in Cameroon and €1 million in the DRC and the Republic of Congo. The humanitarian assistance addresses the basic needs of refugees such as shelter, food, health, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene. The funds are implemented through the European Commission’s partners such as UN agencies, International NGOs, and international organisations like the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies.
In CAR, the European Commission is funding humanitarian projects to enable free access to primary health services through mobile clinics. Projects seeking to improve the protection of civilians are also being supported. Food assistance is a priority. Moreover, the European Commission is supporting integrated actions to provide safe drinking water, re-establish decent sanitation facilities and promote better hygiene practices (WASH).
The situation in South Sudan since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013 remains one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises. Over 2 million people have fled their homes, of which 565 000 South Sudanese have taken refuge in Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, putting additional resource constraints on these countries and having a destabilising effect on the whole region. At over 1.5 million people have been internally displaced (IDPs), mostly because of widespread violence against civilians. More than half of the refugees (around 60%) are children. At the same time, the country hosts more than a quarter of a million refugees, mainly from Sudan. Overall, life-saving needs for food, health care, clean water, shelter, sanitation, protection, etc. continue to rise.
Humanitarian aid is delivered in extremely and increasingly challenging circumstances. Hostilities and attacks against humanitarian workers seriously constrain access to those in need. The commandeering of assets and other illegal obstructions further constrain the work of aid organisations.
The European Commission has made available more than €200 million since 2014 (over €120 million in 2015 alone) to respond to the unfolding and intensifying humanitarian crisis inside the South Sudan and support the urgent needs of refugees in the Horn of Africa, including South Sudanese refugees. The aid covers the provision of food aid, basic health care, clean water, sanitation, shelter and protection for the most vulnerable people. The funds also support the response to epidemics such as cholera and Hepatitis E.
As a result of the illegal annexation of Crimea and fighting between Russia-backed separatists and government forces in Eastern Ukraine, over two million people have been forced to flee their homes and have become increasingly vulnerable. As of June 2015, over 1.3 million people are registered as internally displaced (IDPs), and more than 860 000 have fled to neighbouring countries, especially Russia, Belarus and Poland. Refugees and internally displaced persons need shelter, food and sanitation items as well as proper healthcare and psychosocial support, education and protection. Medical supplies are extremely limited across the conflict zone. Despite a ceasefire agreement that came into force in February 2015, access to Donetsk and Luhansk regions remains challenging for humanitarian organisations.
The European Union and its Member States have jointly contributed over € 139 million in financial aid to the most vulnerable since the beginning of the crisis. Aid is provided to all affected populations, including refugees in Russia and Belarus, and is delivered according to humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. On the ground, the assistance is being delivered through partner organisations, including UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, IOM, Save the Children, Danish Refugee Council, People In Need, WFP and ICRC.
In a joint operation in January 2015, EU and its Member States organised the delivery emergency supplies by air and road, including tents, blankets and sleeping bags for the harsh winter conditions, in cooperation with humanitarian partners including UNICEF and UNHCR.
Asylum in the EU
Most displaced persons remain in their own countries or find refuge in neighbouring states, but many also travel to Europe to seek asylum. The EU has stepped up its search and rescue activities in response to the tragic situation in the Mediterranean, and thousands of people are being rescued every week.
The new European Agenda on Migration sets out proposals to establish a temporary relocation mechanism for 40 000 persons in Italy and Greece in clear need of international protection, to be relocated within the EU. The Agenda also includes a recommendation for an EU wide scheme to resettle 20 000 refugees in all Member States.
For further informationRead More
In response to the growing humanitarian consequences of the Boko Haram attacks, the European Commission is providing €21 million to help the populations in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries who are affected by the violence inflicted by the militant Islamist group.
These new funds will provide immediate support, including clean water, food, shelter, health care and protection to the displaced and the host communities in the north-east Nigeria, as well as to Nigerian refugees and returnees in the neighbouring countries.
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, who is visiting Nigeria to assess the humanitarian situation, said: “More than 1.7 million people have been displaced by the terror of Boko Haram. Many of them live in precarious conditions in other parts of Nigeria or the neighbouring countries where they have fled. Meeting some of them today, I saw with my own eyes the immense needs that the conflict is causing among civilians. We are stepping up our humanitarian response to the call of those in the greatest need“.
€12.5 million of the funding will be used to tackle the humanitarian challenges in Nigeria, and €8.5 million will go to supporting refugees in Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
This new aid comes on top of the relief the Commission has provided to the most vulnerable people affected by food insecurity and malnutrition throughout Nigeria and its neighbouring countries. In 2014 and 2015, the Commission has allocated more than €107 million and €123 million, respectively, to provide humanitarian assistance to people in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
The violent conflict in North-East Nigeria, with indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population, has displaced 1.5 million people within the country and forced over 230 000 to flee to Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
The displaced people in Nigeria live in precarious conditions and are in need of basic services. In addition, the security situation often prevents humanitarian organisations from reaching those in need and deliver basic supplies.
In the neighbouring countries, the newly-arrived refugees put additional strain on the resources of the host communities which already suffer from the consequences of successive food crises and extreme poverty.Read More