This post originally appeared at ThinkProgress.
Bor, South Sudan – It has been a dark week in Jonglei State in eastern South Sudan. On Friday night, the last of the humanitarian workers in Pibor town were evacuated by UN helicopter as South Sudanese forces roamed the dusty streets, attacking civilians and looting anything they could carry.
Today, Marcy Hersh and I are en route to South Sudan, where we will spend the next three weeks assessing the conditions for displaced people in two of the harshest and most isolated areas of the country. In Jonglei and Unity states, an estimated 180,000 displaced persons are taking shelter in camps, with host families, and hiding in the bush, often with little to no support from the UN or humanitarian agencies.
As sad and overwhelming as they may be, some experiences make you say, “I am glad I was there to witness it.” Meeting with the refugees and IDPs affected by the Nagorno Karabakh conflict was that kind of an experience for me.
I have experienced many challenges living as a refugee in Nairobi for two years. The first challenge is security, which is not guaranteed. I live in Eastleigh, a small neighborhood that has become a Somali enclave. A series of explosions took place here after Kenyan troops entered Somalia.
This caused a reaction among Kenyans, who blamed Somali refugees. Although there is an increased police presence in the area, Somalis are afraid of the police because of the way that they behave towards them.
This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.
There are now roughly 200,000 Syrian refugees in 17 camps throughout southeastern Turkey, and this week a Refugees International team visited one such camp in Kilis Province.
This post originally appeared at The Hill's Congress Blog.
Two nights ago, my Refugees International colleagues and I paid a visit to a cramped apartment on the Turkish-Syrian border. Dr. Najjar, a Syrian physician, showed us various types of medical equipment he had gathered over the past week. They will be sent into a northern Syria province in the coming days to resupply hospitals and clinics.
A few minutes ago, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the creation of an “intervention brigade” within the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
The resolution passed despite a good deal of skepticism on the part of many Council members, and it’s unclear whether the Council is prepared for the potential humanitarian fallout.
This post originally appeared on The Hill's Congress Blog.
Last week in Iraqi Kurdistan, two solemn anniversaries were being commemorated: the chemical weapons attack on Halabja 25 years ago and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, there was another anniversary that went largely unnoticed: the second anniversary of the conflict in Syria.
This post originally appeared at The Refugee.
When the Kenyan government announced in December last year that all Somali refugees living in cities must move to the Dadaab refugee camp, I made plans to visit that camp. I wanted to see the place that was already home to hundreds of thousands of Somalis, and where the government planned to pack in thousands more.