December 18, 2009
Chad, DR Congo, South Sudan, Sudan
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.”
July 30, 2009
Chad, Congress, DR Congo, Sudan, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Protection & Security
Refugees International was back on Capitol Hill yesterday, as Peacekeeping Advocate Erin Weir testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the challenges currently facing peacekeeping and possible improvements to the operations, said committee chairman Rep. Howard Berman. A distinguished group of witnesses gathered for the hearing, including Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr.
July 03, 2009
Chad, Sudan, Neglected Crises
Las Vegas doesn’t seem a likely place for an event focused on the atrocities in a remote region of Sudan. And yet, the Ante Up for Africa tournament held yesterday in Las Vegas brought out hundreds of people -- celebrities, poker players, media and spectators – with the sole purpose of raising awareness and funding to end the crisis in Darfur and other conflicts in Africa.
June 24, 2009
Chad, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security
When my colleague Erin Weir and I visited refugee camps in eastern Chad this past May, we heard repeated concerns of child recruitment by armed groups, including both rebel groups and the Chadian National forces. This was a particular issue in the Oure Cassoni camp near Bahai.
Oure Cassoni lies very close to the border with Sudan, a fact that has long worried many of the organizations that work there, since it has led to problems within the camp related to the presence of armed groups – in particular, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
June 05, 2009
Chad, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security
Two years ago I tried to visit Darfur to conduct an assessment mission with Refugees International, but was blocked from traveling there by the government of Sudan. Now, on the other side of the border in eastern Chad, I’m finally getting a chance to speak with people from Darfur, forced to flee their homes because of the conflict in the western part of Sudan.
May 26, 2009
Chad, Sudan, Humanitarian Response
I am writing from Bahai, a village in eastern Chad right on the border with Darfur. Camilla Olson and I have trekked all the way out here, to what may be the most remote place I have ever visited, to understand the dynamics that make humanitarian assistance so hard to deliver.
April 17, 2009
Chad, Sudan, U.S. Administration, Neglected Crises
In the midst of the Obama administration's policy review on Afghanistan a new word was born: Afpak, meaning Afghanistan and Pakistan. Strategists want to encourage the executors of strategy and policy to think of Afghanistan and Pakistan as a unified theater of operations. The border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan demands a unified approach if NATO and the U.S. are to defeat the Taliban. So, Afpak it is.
March 13, 2009
Chad, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Neglected Crises, Protection & Security
Am Nabak is a fine place for camels. It is rocky and dry, and getting drier. The water table can't support the current population of a few camels and around 17,000 refugees from the war in Darfur, so water is brought in overland by truck. The camp is situated scant 25 kilometers from the Darfur border. This is too close to the war zone by United Nations standards; it was only supposed to be a transit camp through which refugees passed on their way to more permanent and secure camps. But the refugees have settled in at Am Nabak and, despite the urging of the UN Refugee Agency, prefer to remain close to the border.
February 27, 2009
Chad, Sudan, Protection & Security
Nicholas Kristof's recent blog post took the United Nations to task for cancelling a security detail for him and his traveling partner, actor and activist George Clooney, on their recent trip to eastern Chad. Actually, Kristof said that his complaint with the UN is not the lack of security but rather the sudden reversal of position by high-level UN officials. Kristof claims UN leadership worried that Clooney might condemn the actions of Sudanese president Omar al Bashir as genocide, thereby worsening already tense relations between Khartoum and New York. A note: Mr. Clooney was travelling as a private citizen (albeit a very high profile private citizen), not in his role as a UN Goodwill Ambassador.
November 05, 2008
Chad, Congress, DR Congo, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, U.S. Administration, Humanitarian Response, Neglected Crises, Protection & Security
All around the world people want to know how American policy will change when Barack Obama becomes president. I expect greater U.S. engagement on two humanitarian crises—Darfur and Iraqi displacement.
July 25, 2008
July 01, 2008
"The music has played again as is the case almost every year before the rainy season starts in eastern Chad.” This was a metaphor used by a Chadian in eastern Chad last month to describe the recent attacks by rebel groups against the government’s forces. The latest attack is one of many that has contributed -- together with ethnic tensions and the spill over of Sudan’s Darfur crisis -- to destabilizing eastern Chad in the last five years.
June 16, 2008
This Friday, June 20, is World Refugee Day. It is a day to recognize the struggle of some 12 million refugees worldwide who have been forced out of their homes and homelands by fear, conflict, and persecution. It is also an opportunity for many of us to try to appreciate just what it means to have a safe place to go home to, and to remember that no conflict happens in isolation. Insecurity anywhere threatens peace everywhere.
February 04, 2008
The push of Sudan-backed rebels into the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, poses a serious threat, not only to the government of President Idriss Deby, but to the humanitarian relief efforts in the country. An estimated 440,000 displaced people have sought refuge in eastern and southern Chad: 230,000 refugees from Darfur, 170,000 internally displaced Chadians, and 44,000 refugees from the Central African Republic.
January 03, 2007
Central African Republic, Chad
50,000 Central Africans have fled to southern Chad. Here are a few of their stories.Insecurity and abuse in the northwest of the Central African Republic prompted approximately 50,000 Central Africans to flee into southern Chad. Most of the refugees stated that they had been targeted by at least two of the three armed forces --- rebels, government forces, and bandits --- that take advantage of the lawlessness and extort money from the civilian population. When people cannot pay the requisite sum, they may lose their life or the life of a loved one.