There is always a convenient excuse. In Haiti, we don't have the time. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we don't have the funding. In the Syrian refugee response, we don't have the experts. Somehow, there is always a pat answer to why we, the humanitarian community, fail to protect women and girls in emergency after emergency.
More than 100,000 people are now living in displacement camps in northern Myanmar, driven from their homes by conflict between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). While about a third of these individuals are living in government-controlled areas, the vast majority are located in zones controlled by the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), the KIA’s political wing.
During my recent visit to Myanmar, I met with human rights activist Kyaw Hla Aung in a Rohingya village in Sittwe Township, Rakhine State. We talked about his peaceful political activism, his public service, and his humanitarian work. But mostly we talked about how he and other village elders and leaders feared for their lives.
On my research missions to Myanmar and to Bangladesh, I have met so many Rohingyas who suffered terrible abuses at the hands of the NaSaKa border force and whose everyday lives were blighted by their fear of it. In our reports, Refugees International has repeatedly demanded that the NaSaKa be reined in, and so we welcome President Thein Sein's announcement that this notorious force is being disbanded.
This post is the second in a special series on climate displacement in Kiribati. Click here to read the first post.
The I-Kiribati (as the citizens of Kiribati are known) are a strong and proud people. Their culture – the katei or traditional way of life – involves a strong sense of personal pride, respect, and openness to foreigners. The I-Kiribati also have a deep spiritual connection to their land.
Every day we see the effects of climate change on our environment, whether it is the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy in the northeast United States, or the 2011 heat wave and drought in Texas.
More recently, world leaders have begun to focus on the link between severe weather and climate change, and this has led to significant public discussion about our vulnerabilities to climate change and the steps we can take to adapt.
Right now, the shell-shocked residents of Moore, Oklahoma, are grappling with the loss of 24 lives and the destruction of entire neighborhoods following a devastating tornado on May 20. Meanwhile, across the globe, tens of thousands of people in Bangladesh and Burma are returning to damaged homes and villages in the wake of Cyclone Mahasen, which thankfully proved more merciful than anticipated.