October 06, 2015 Mark Yarnell Africa, Central African Republic, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security

Last week, intercommunal fighting in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, resulted in over 40 deaths and caused more than 40,000 people to flee to various displacement camps sites around the city. The violence erupted following the murder of a Muslim taxi driver, pitting armed Muslim and Christian groups against each other. The streets also filled with protesters calling for the ouster of interim president Catherine Samba-Panza, who was in New York at the time for the United Nations General Assembly.

September 24, 2015 Alice Thomas Africa, Burkina Faso, Climate Displacement, Niger, Philippines, Americas, Asia, Middle East

All eyes are on Washington this week as Pope Francis makes his historic first trip to the U.S. This morning, he’ll address lawmakers on Capitol Hill, marking the first time a Pope has addressed a joint meeting of Congress. Climate change is undoubtedly one if the issues on his agenda. Earlier this year the pope released his Laudito Si encyclical in which he laid out the moral case for greater protection of the environment, natural resources, and the Earth's climate. 

September 16, 2015 Michael Boyce Africa, Burundi, Humanitarian Response, Neglected Crises, Protection & Security, Women & Children

On August 20, 2015, Pierre Nkurunziza took the oath of office for the third time as Burundi’s president. His inauguration followed one of the most explosive periods in this small Central African nation’s recent history. 

For months prior, opposition activists and world leaders condemned Nkurunziza’s third run for office, arguing that the peace deal which ended Burundi’s 1993-2005 civil war limited the president to two terms. The country was seized by protests, a coup attempt, and the jailing or killing of opposition activists, officials, and journalists. 

August 28, 2015 Guest Africa, United Nations, Humanitarian Response

The needs of refugees and displaced people are outstripping the resources and capacities of the existing humanitarian system. The World Humanitarian Summit is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General to seek solutions to improve the humanitarian system, thereby reducing human suffering. It will be held on May 26-27, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.

August 18, 2015 Guest Africa, Humanitarian Response

Since the Islamist insurgency group Boko Haram began scaling up its attacks on civilians, an estimated 1.3 million Nigerians have been internally displaced and at least another 150,000 have taken refuge in neighboring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. The exodus of Nigerians fleeing the country’s northeastern region for government-sponsored camps or host communities has intensified the pressure on already scarce natural resources. 

July 23, 2015 Mark Yarnell Africa, Ethiopia - Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, U.S. Administration, Protection & Security

Earlier today, I was in touch with a Somali friend, Farah, who has been living as a refugee in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, for the past several years after he fled fighting in Somalia. I asked him what he thought about President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya this week.  He said, “I am happy. I hope he talks about refugee rights.”  He then said, “The talk of everyone in Nairobi is that the most powerful man on earth is coming to Kenya.” 

May 20, 2015 Mark Yarnell Africa, Central African Republic, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Neglected Crises, Protection & Security, Women & Children

Periodic violence, reprisal attacks, recent displacement – the town of Bambari, almost right in the middle of the Central African Republic (CAR), is emblematic of the continuing crisis in the country. In 2013, many areas in CAR descended into intercommunal violence following the overthrow of the government by an amalgamation of rebel groups from the north known as the Séléka. Christian militia groups, known as anti-Balaka, started fighting against the Séléka (composed primarily of Muslims).

May 15, 2015 Michael Boyce Africa, Chad, Sudan, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Neglected Crises, Protection & Security, Women & Children

Twelve years ago, when I was a high school student living in a small New England town, I remember hearing about Darfur. I remember seeing news reports about the terrible conflict there, and about the hundreds of thousands of people whose villages had been burned or bombed, forcing them into exile.

May 14, 2015 Michael Boyce Africa, Burundi, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security

The political struggle underway in Burundi has thrust that tiny Central African nation into the global spotlight. Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, is seeking a third term despite being limited to two by Burundi’s constitution, and by the terms of a peace deal signed in 2000. Nkurunziza’s supporters maintain that his first term did not count because he was appointed by parliament rather than elected. His political opponents disagree. 

May 11, 2015 Mark Yarnell Africa, Central African Republic, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Neglected Crises, Protection & Security

More than two years since a rebel movement launched a violent campaign against the Central African Republic government, the country is continuing to experience a major humanitarian crisis. In March 2013, the Seleka group (an amalgamation of rebel groups from the north) overthrew the central government in Bangui, and since then sectarian violence between Christian militia groups, known as anti-Balaka, and former members of Seleka, who are mainly Muslims, has permeated the country.

April 20, 2015 Guest Africa, Somalia, United Nations, Yemen, Neglected Crises, Middle East, Protection & Security

For more than 24 years, refugees have fled instability in Somalia for the comparative safety of Yemen. Now, as indiscriminate violence grips Yemen, civilians there are packing up their lives and hoping to find safe haven in Somalia.

January 20, 2015 Mark Yarnell Africa, South Sudan, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security

The village of Pagak lies in Ethiopia’s Gambella region on the western border with South Sudan. Pagak essentially exists on both sides of the border, and in better times, people would move from one country to another primarily to meet friends and relatives, engage in trade, or transport livestock.

January 13, 2015 Mark Yarnell Africa, South Sudan, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security, Women & Children

South Sudan is continuing to reel from internal conflict that ignited in the capital Juba a little more than a year ago and quickly spread throughout the country. On December 15th, 2013, fighting erupted in Juba between soldiers loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar and those loyal to President Salva Kiir. More than one year on the fighting continues, primarily in Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile states in the north.

January 08, 2015 Michael Boyce Africa, DR Congo, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security

This month, one of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s longest-running conflicts may finally reach an inflection point. After months of political posturing, it appears that the international community will now launch a military offensive against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The Congolese armed forces (FARDC) will be expected to lead the way, supported by the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).

December 10, 2014 Guest Africa, Kenya, Somalia, Humanitarian Response

This is the second of two guest posts by journalist Moulid Hujale. To read the first post, click here.

More than 300,000 Somali refugees live in the Dadaab camps of northeastern Kenya. Interestingly, the refugees there are divided among various groups whose intentions to return home depend on the group’s main interest in staying the camps.

December 08, 2014 Mark Yarnell Africa, Kenya, Somalia, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security

Amidst the news about drastic cuts to the World Food Program’s (WFP) support for Syrian refugees, it’s important to recall that WFP’s programs in other parts of the world have also been scaled back. For instance, in November, WFP halved food rations for the nearly half a million refugees living in camps in Kenya. The danger is not only that these refugees may go hungry, but also that they may be forced to return home before it’s safe to do so. 

November 13, 2014 Guest Africa, DR Congo, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security

Earlier this year, I made my first trip to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in a search for some urban refugees. Although urban refugees are not officially recognised by the government of Tanzania, some organisations which work with the urban refugee population, such as Asylum Access, estimate that there may be over 10,000 in the city. 

Many of these refugees fled their countries of origin during the Great Lakes crises of the 1990s, with some Congolese especially arriving more recently having fled renewed violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

October 21, 2014 Michael Boyce Africa, Congress, DR Congo, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Neglected Crises, Women & Children

Five months ago, I visited a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) near Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The people living there first arrived in 2012 and 2013, having fled from armed groups who destroyed villages and killed civilians. As the chaos continued back at home, many IDPs had no choice but to remain in the camps. But the longer they stayed, the less aid they received from the United Nations and other organizations.

October 10, 2014 Marcy Hersh Africa, DR Congo, Humanitarian Response, Women & Children

Next week, I will be traveling on mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), along with several RI colleagues, where we will be undertaking an in-depth assessment of the challenges that the humanitarian community is currently facing in keeping women and girls safe from gender-based violence (GBV).