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.
Burundi: Over 110,000 persons have fled Burundi due to violence in the lead up to elections expected in May/June of this year. The majority (approximately 70,000) have fled to Tanzania, arriving in Kagunga and Kigoma as they await transport to the Nyarugusu refugee camp. The sheer number of people has led to a humanitarian crisis, but is being compounded by the rising threat of cholera, with between 300 and 400 new cases being reported daily.
Numerous organizations are responding to the needs of these refugees. Oxfam in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency and the government of Tanzania has focused its relief efforts on water and sanitary equipment. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been supporting Red Cross National Societies in the region to meet the humanitarian needs of the displaced, including reconnecting families separated by the conflict.
Rohingya: Last week, we covered the refugee crisis emerging in the Andaman Sea as Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants were denied entry into Malaysia and Indonesia, forcing them to remain stranded in the sea without food, water, or medical attention. This week, progress was made in addressing the emergency as both Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to provide temporary protection for the thousands of refugees. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has pledged to assist these migrants. The Philippines has also offered to accept 300 of the boat people.
The willingness of these nations to address the crisis is an important step forward; however, other regional players continue to refuse to help and refute responsibility. Australia has completely refused to help address the crisis by resettling refugees. And Myanmar, where many of the refugees are fleeing from says it has no responsibility for the refugees. The nation’s continued denial of recognition and rights for the Rohingya is seen by many as the main driver of the current crisis.
South Sudan: This week, many agencies warned of increased violence in South Sudan ahead of the rainy season. The conflict is increasingly disrupting humanitarian assistance, and even targeting UN compounds where many displaced South Sudanese have sought refuge. The conflict has frustrated the international community whose continued attempts at peace negotiations have resulted in eight failed ceasefires, testing the limits and applicability of current conflict resolution practices.