This week in Restoring Family Links: 07/11/2016 - 07/15/2016

This week in Restoring Family Links: 07/11/2016 - 07/15/2016

South Sudan: Last week, violence engulfed Juba, South Sudan as military forces supporting President Salva Kiir and Vice President Machar engaged in heavy battles. As the most recent violence caused more than 300 deaths and 36,000 displaced, and major banks and insurers in Africa temporarily close their operations and evacuating staff, the leaders of both sides on Monday night have ordered to have the clashes ceased. On Wednesday, the White House had deployed 47 troops to the country to protect its citizens and the U.S. embassy until their presences are no longer needed.

This is not the first time that the two forces engage in infighting where innocent civilians get caught in the crossfires; the reason why is that the two leaders have embroiled in a power struggle since 2013 when the President accused the vice president of initiating a coup to oust him out of power. As the result, about 50,000 people were killed, more than 2 million were displaced, and 5 million face great food shortages.

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This Week in Restoring Family Links 3/28/2016 - 4/1/2016

This Week in Restoring Family Links 3/28/2016 - 4/1/2016

This week, Europe saw dramatic changes in the flows of migrants and refugees reaching its shores from the Middle East and North Africa. Over the course of the month, March saw the number of arrivals halve from what they were in February, from 57,000 to 25,000 new arrivals. Yet, the last week in particular has seen contrasting trends, with Italy rescuing 1,482 migrants over two days off the coast of Libya, indicating that arrivals along the North Africa - Italy route are on the rise. Further supporting this observation comes yesterday's tragic sinking of a dinghy carrying about 100 migrants from Libya sinking in the Mediterranean, with the total number dead so far unknown. In Greece, the numbers of arrivals entering from Turkey had drastically reduced as well, with only about 1,000 entering from Turkey per day compared to about 2,000 per day over the past few months. 

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This Week in Restoring Family Links 2/1/2016 - 2/5/2016

This Week in Restoring Family Links 2/1/2016 - 2/5/2016

Supporting Syria: Yesterday, the Supporting Syria & the Region 2016 conference was held in London, co-hosted by the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, and the United Nations. The conference brought together world leaders to address, coordinate, and raise significant funding to meet the immediate and long-term effects of the ongoing conflict. Building upon three previous such conferences in Kuwait, world leaders, as well as various NGO's came together to plan for and coordinate several relevant goals: raising funding, providing education access, create job opportunities, and apply international pressure to respect humanitarian law, among others. Donors pledged over USD $10 billion to the cause, with the largest pledges coming from the European Union, the United States, Japan, Germany, and others. 

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Human Rights Day: Much to Do, Much to Celebrate

Human Rights Day: Much to Do, Much to Celebrate

Freedom from fearFreedom of speechFreedom of worshipFreedom from want. These are the four freedoms highlighted by the United Nations for this year’s Human Rights Day, a day celebrating the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year’s celebration is especially significant as it kicks-off the international organization’s year-long campaign commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the signing of the two international covenants that further enumerate the rights outlined in the Declaration.

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This Week in Restoring Family Links News 07/06/15 - 07/10/15

Do you follow @intlfamilylinks (Restoring Family Links’ account) on Twitter? See an interesting article but just don’t have the time to read it? “This Week in RFL News” is a weekly blog segment that highlights and summarizes some of the news items posted by RFL’s twitter.

Syria: Yesterday, the international community learned of a sobering reality: The UN declared that the number of Syrian refugees has officially climbed to 4 million, over half of Syria's population. In a statement, U.N. High Commissioner Antonio Guterres said, "This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation.”

 Bryan Denton / NYT

Bryan Denton / NYT

Though many choose to flee to bordering countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, 7 million are displaced within Syria, and in its 5th year, conflict still rages on – over the past few weeks, rebels have attacked the city of Aleppo by bombing government buildings, universities, and community centers. Aleppo was once named the city of scholars, as well as a secure home for Syrians. Now, Aleppo is marked as a city of war.

Though refugees are separated from violence, they face a life with poorer conditions than before. Families driven by deepened poverty and desperation turn to extreme survival strategies, such as marrying off their young children or forcing them to work. Guterres stated, "Worsening conditions are driving growing numbers towards Europe and further afield, but the overwhelming majority remain in the region. We cannot afford to let them and the communities hosting them slide further into desperation." UNHCR appealed for $5.5 billion to support the Syrian refugees in 2015, but the plan is only 24% funded. Humanitarian organizations have cut rations due to a lack of funds. Help is desperately needed, but the growing numbers carry a heavy weight on aid moving forward. 

South Sudan: On July 9, 2011, South Sudan gained independence as an individual nation in Africa. 4 years later, South Sudan is not participating in celebrations, and the world’s newest nation is one of the world’s worst humanitarian situations. Conflict began in December 2013, and since, 2.25 million South Sudanese are displaced, including more than 600,000 refugees who have fled to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan. As many frail parents struggle to make the journey out of their homes–life expectancy in South Sudan is only 55 years–the crisis has majorly impacted the next generation of South Sudanese: 70% of those displaced are children.

  UN / Martine Perret

UN / Martine Perret

Last week, we reported about the ruthless attack on a peacekeeping base that killed one and injured many others. This week, in anticipation for the rainy season in South Sudan, world health organizations are concerned about the possibility of cholera infecting those internally displaced. The Red Cross has resulted to air drops to deliver food, water, and health supplies, due to the remote locations of displaced persons, and along with other humanitarian organizations, are calling for action. Watch these two videos from the British Red Cross and UNHCR for more information about South Sudan since their independence.

Yemen: Last Saturday, a rocket attack struck a kindergarten shelter in Aden, Yemen, killing 12 refugees. Among them were 11 Somalis, 1 Ethiopian, and 5 being children. 12 others were also injured. Supported by the UNHCR and Solidarity Association for Development, (SAD), Al Tadamon Kindergarten is home to hundreds of displaced families. UNHCR reported that the shelter was well-known for hosting refugees, and called for members of the conflict to respect and protect all civilian lives. Currently, over 1 million are internally displaced people in Yemen, 250,000 are refugees and millions more are in need.