This Week in Restoring Family Links: 06/27/2016 - 07/01/2016

International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, has conducted medical evacuations of people wounded in South Sudan's conflict. Photo Credit: ICRC.

International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, has conducted medical evacuations of people wounded in South Sudan's conflict. Photo Credit: ICRC.

South Sudan:  With the increasing violence in the country, the South Sudanese government has declared that their Independence Day would not be celebrated so that they can “spend the little that [they] have on other issues.

This year marks South Sudan’s fifth year after it broke away from Sudan following decades of conflict.

Currently, South Sudan is suffering from increasingly high inflation, rampant corruption, and the near collapse of the country’s oil industry. Even though the civil war that started in 2013 has ended, numerous militia groups still continue the fighting. Furthermore, according to the International Rescue Committee, South Sudan is also affected by food, clean water, and health care shortages. Its citizens suffer from deadly diseases such as malaria; women and girls face violence, abuses, and exploitation daily.

On June 28th, it is reported that over 40 people were killed and thousands more were displaced after violent clashes in Wau, South Sudan. The International Committee of the Red Cross has repeatedly voiced their serious concern over the fact that thousands of civilians and medical facilities are targets of the violence. ICRC also extended their efforts to those in need in South Sudan as much as possible. For instance, they are aiding a UN short term shelter that is currently hosting over 100,000 South Sudanese

Turkey: On June 28th, international communities reported that Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport was attacked by three assailants of Russian, Kyrgyz, and Uzbek descent – all of whom are suspected to be members of the Islamic State. The attack resulted in 43 deaths and more than 200 people wounded. On June 30th, it is reported that about 22 people that have connections to the attack were detained. The attack marks the sixth attack in Turkey since the beginning of this year.

As a response to the tragedy, the Turkish Red Cross urges eligible civilians to donate blood to help those in needs and tweeted a list of locations where they can do so. 

Brexit: On June 23rd, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. With 17.4 million votes, this historic decision marked the first time a state has voted to leave the bloc. The immediate effects from the voting result were clear when world financial markets plunged as investors switched to US dollars and the Japanese yen, and Prime Minister David Cameron resigned.

The result also inspired the “Leave” campaign’s counterparts to demand the same referendum. Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has considered advising the Scottish Parliament to not give “legislative consent” to Brexit. The result of the referendum has affected “the settlement that brought peace to Northern Ireland and close cordiality to relations between Britain and Ireland.”

Although the referendum is not legally binding, if the government ignores its people’s will, it would put them into a predicament. On the other hand, if the government is to continue with the process of leaving the EU (first by invoking Article 50), it will be a long and difficult process for the next two years with little benefits to be seen.

Many analysts claim that the “fear of being overrun by immigrants,” and the diminishing British sovereignty and authority in the world were two of the driving concerns that compelled citizens to vote leave. After the referendum, it is reported that hate crime, discrimination, and abuses across Britain rises significantly, up to 57%. The most targeted groups are of Polish descent, and other residents of migrant heritage. As a result, Amnesty International UK has launched a campaign to address the rising hate crime.