Displaced by DRC violence, survivors’ testimonies highlight brutality of armed militia
Two months since hundreds of thousands of people fled violence in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UN humanitarians warned on Friday that armed militia continue to make their safe return impossible.
UN Refugee Agency, or UNHCR, spokesperson Babar Baloch said that numerous people said that relatives had been killed in Ituri province, crimes that are linked to the Hema and Lendu communities:
“These people are not even able to return as well. Many of them have reported people who have tried - or relatives who have tried - to return to their villages and to their homes, they have been reportedly attacked and killed.”
Warning that “fear and squalor” prevail in displacement camps, UNHCR said that the town of Drodro had seen its population triple in just a few weeks, with schools and churches “transformed into large, squalid dormitories”.
To date, UNHCR’s $150 million appeal for international support is only 30 per cent funded.
Two years after exodus, Myanmar’s ‘desperate’ Rohingya youth need education, skills: UNICEF
Myanmar’s Rohingya people who live in one of the world’s largest refugee settlements face “overwhelming” despair that’s undermining the hopes of an entire generation, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.
In a report published almost two years since the arrival of around 745,000 Rohingya civilians in Bangladesh - after fleeing State-led persecution and violence in Myanmar – the agency is calling for urgent investment in education and training.
It says that without adequate learning opportunities, youngsters can fall prey to drug dealers and traffickers who offer to smuggle “desperate” ethnic Rohingya out of Bangladesh.
Report author Simon Ingram said that the informal education given to children initially helped them recover from the trauma they went through when they left Myanmar.
But now, there’s recognition that the Rohingya youngster need quality learning and skills to guarantee their long-term future.
“So until now that particular concern, as we’re trying to say in the report, is giving way to a more, a deeper need for formal education, for something which is really going to prepare these children for the future. And there is great alarm that as the more time that slips by, that you will ultimately have an unschooled, an uneducated generation of Rohingya who will not be able to help move forward in future.”
One of the agency’s objectives through education is to give teenagers the skills they need to deal avoid risks that include early marriage for girls.
In addition to Bangladesh’s Kutupalong camp, which is home to some 630,000 people, hundreds of thousands more, have found shelter in the dozen or so camps in the Cox’s Bazar region that’s close to the Myanmar border.
Living conditions are perilous and UN humanitarians have issued frequent alerts about the devastating effects of monsoon rains on flimsy bamboo and tarpaulin shelters.
UN human rights office appeals to Zimbabwe to engage with protesters and ‘stop cracking down’
And finally, Zimbabwe’s authorities should heed their people’s grievances and “stop cracking down” on protesters, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Friday, as planned protests in the capital were called off at the last minute.
The UN appeal follows a High Court decision to uphold a Government ban on the demonstration in Harare, spokesperson Rupert Colville told journalists in Geneva.
He added that crowds which had already gathered ahead of the ruling were dispersed by police, reportedly with force.
“With opposition demonstrations still likely to take place in Zimbabwe in the near future, we urge the Government to find ways to continuously engage with the population about their legitimate grievances on the economic situation, and to stop cracking down on peaceful protestors.”
Mr. Colville said that there was deep concern at Zimbabwe’s continuing socio-economic crisis, which has led to soaring prices for fuel, food, transport and health services, before calling for strong social protection measures for the most vulnerable.
According to the World Food Programme, WFP , the country is experiencing its worst-ever hunger emergency.
More than a third of the rural population – some 3.6 million people - will be food insecure by October, the agency said on Friday.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.