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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Spiraling harm affluent nations inflict on Middle East, Africa’s children must stop

Mali's people
War-made witnesses to slaughter, wandering refugees
 Re-reporting, editing, comment by Carolyn Bennett

These are some of the regional crises created by officials of the United States, France and England in their endless wars against peoples, generations of the Middle East (South Central Asia) and Africa.

t this rate, the people of these countries will NEVER advance. This is in essence the meaning of poverty (what indifference routinely dismisses as “the poor” and why the UN Millennium Goals will never be met) ─ poverty that is created and sustained by affluent, nuclear-powered,  consumerist, plundering nations such as the United States, Britain and France.

Syria's children
SYRIA (circa 1.1 million refugees)
children’s refugee crisis.

“Refugees pour across borders day and night,” says U.N. Refugee Agency regional coordinator Panos Moumtzis. “More than half of the refugees are children.

This is a children’s refugee crisis.

It is heartbreaking when we see these children arriving and particularly what we see in the days that follow.

urkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt have been flooded with tens of thousands of refugees, says Moumtzis; 30 percent of these refugees are housed in camps, the rest are outside camps in villages and towns.

These children have experienced and witnessed some of the most horrific scenes, seeing their parents or loved ones killed, their homes destroyed, schools affected. Many are withdrawn. “We hear from the parents about bedwetting, Moumtzis told the press.
Endlessly homeless
crossing borders

“More than half the 642,000 refugees who have sought refuge from the Syrian conflict in neighboring countries are children and the number of people fleeing could almost double by June of this year.”

JORDAN (refugees)

An estimated 350,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Jordan from the fighting, with 36,000 coming since the beginning of 2013. These pressures are adding to already grievous social pressures in Jordan. In one of the harshest winters on record, the living conditions of these refugees are said to be “appalling.”

According to the International Rescue Committee ─

The majority of the refugees are living outside the refugee camps—in cities and towns where social services, schools and even trash and waste systems are not equipped to meet the needs of a suddenly inflated population.

Desperate, these people have come despite the [Jordanian] government’s strict rules on who can enter the country and controls on refugee movements outside the camps…

 uring the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, King Abdullah of Jordan compared the militant threat in Syria with Afghanistan and acknowledged that the situation in the region would be “catastrophic and something that we would be reeling from for decades to come.”

The United States proxy war to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, financed and armed by Washington’s Sunni allies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and trained and supported with military intelligence by Jordan and Israel ─ is said to be “fraught with dangers” for the Jordanian king. An overthrow of Syria’s president “at the hands of the rival Islamist gangs now fighting in Syria could result in the fragmentation of the country, with consequences that would spill over into Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.”

MALI AND NIGER (refugees)

Since Friday January 11, Mauritania has received 4,208 Malians, Niger 1,300 refugees from Mali, and Burkina Faso 1,829. These numbers, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), brought the total number of Malian refugees in neighboring states to 147,000.
Thousands more people of Mali have become refugees since France began military operations against “Islamic rebels in the north of the country.”

People are fleeing to neighboring countries already struggling to provide food and water for earlier waves of refugees.

U.S. drone wars ─ an anonymous source has allegedly told Agence France Presse that U.S. officials plan “to consolidate the U.S. position in Africa with a new drone, robotic unmanned aircraft, outpost in Niger, on the eastern border of Mali” where French forces are engaged.

ast week, Washington sent approximately 100 military trainers to nations that are prepared to or have already deployed troops to Mali. These nations include Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo, and Ghana.]

KENYA (refugees harassed)

AlertNet reports a refugee telling the group Refugees International ─

We left our homeland against our will. We thought we could save our lives by running to another country. We thought we would be protected. But now we face the same harassment here as we faced in our homeland, because of the Kenyan government’s directive. These past few weeks in Nairobi, we are feeling that the security forces are treating us like war captives rather than refugees.

“Refugees International (RI) is deeply concerned about Kenya’s recent decision to move 100,000 city-dwelling refugees into camps” and has called on the Government of Kenya “not to pursue this relocation plan and to ensure that the rights of all refugees are respected.”

The RI team in Nairobi had interviewed refugees who described conditions consequent to Kenya’s decision – violence, harassment, and extortion suffered at the hands of Kenyan security services.

CHAD (refugees, protracted humanitarian crisis)

Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked as number 183 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index. 

Sixty-four percent of the population lives below the national poverty line. It is estimated that 4.4 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance in Chad in 2013

had has continued to host refugees from the Central African Republic and from the Darfur conflict in Sudan together with caring for its own internally displaced people (IDPs) resulting from internal conflict.

Refugees are dependent on humanitarian aid, former IDPs need support for better conditions for re-integration, and host communities are affected by the degradation of the environment caused by deforestation, over-exploitation of groundwater and pressure on scarce natural resources.

Millennium Development Goals

In September of the year 2000, leaders of 189 countries met at the United Nations in New York and endorsed the Millennium Declaration, a commitment to work together to build a safer, more prosperous and equitable world. The Declaration was translated into a road map setting out eight time-bound and measurable goals to be reached by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals: 
  1. 1.    Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 
  1. 2.    Achieve universal primary education 
  1. 3.    Promote gender equality and empower women 
  1. 4.    Reduce child mortality 
  1. 5.    Improve maternal health 
  1. 6.    Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases 
  1. 7.    Ensure environmental sustainability 
  1. 8.    Develop a global partnership for development

hese goals are meaningless in the absence of nonviolence in international relations, an embrace of the original intent of the United Nations and a balance of power therein, and nonviolence in mediation and relations between, among and within individual and regional countries and nations

Sources and notes

“More than half Syria refugees are children, says UN” (By Michelle Nichols, Source: reuters // Reuters), January 17, 2013, http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/more-than-half-syria-refugees-are-children-says-un/

Photo image AlertNet: An internally displaced child looks on as others watch cartoons in a classroom of a school in Kafranbel in Idlib province January 16, 2013. REUTERS/Giath Taha

“Jordan on the brink of disaster… Far from ushering in a period of reform, last week’s elections in Jordan resulted in a large majority for tribal leaders, pro-monarchy loyalists and businessmen …” [and] Jordan’s King Abdullah speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos “called for the major powers to come together ‘decisively’ to end the bloodshed and come up with a solution to the crisis in Syria, a thinly veiled demand for direct imperialist intervention” (By Jean Shaoul, RT), January 29, 2013,  http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/29/jord-j29.html
“Malian refugees face dire conditions in neighboring states” (Source: alertnet // Katie Nguyen), January 22, 2013, http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/malian-refugees-face-dire-conditions-in-neighbouring-states/

Photo Image: Malian sisters Takia, 20, (L) and Fatimata Wallet Mohammed, 18, pose in their shelter at Mbera refugee camp in southern Mauritania, May 23, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Penney

“U.S. considering new drone base in Africa – report,” January 29, 2013, http://rt.com/news/us-drone-base-africa-945/

“Kenyan Plan to Force Refugees Into Camps Leads to Abuse, Violates International Law” (Source: member), January 23, 2013, http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/kenyan-plan-to-force-refugees-into-camps-leads-to-abuse-violates-international-law/

“ACT Alliance Alert: Towards sustainable recovery: Assistance to refugees, former IDPs and host communities in eastern and southern Chad” (Source: member // ACT Alliance – Switzerland), January 10, 2013,  http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/act-alliance-alert-towards-sustainable-recovery-assistance-to-refugees-former-idps-and-host-communities-in-eastern-and-southern-

The Millennium Development Goals

In September of the year 2000, leaders of 189 countries met at the United Nations in New York and endorsed the Millennium Declaration, a commitment to work together to build a safer, more prosperous and equitable world.

The Declaration was translated into a roadmap setting out eight time-bound and measurable goals to be reached by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals, namely: 
The Millennium Development Goals Eight Goals for 2015

9.       Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
10.   Achieve universal primary education
11.   Promote gender equality and empower women
12.  Reduce child mortality
13.   Improve maternal health
14.   Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
15.   Ensure environmental sustainability
16.   Develop a global partnership for development
For more information, please visit: www.un.org/millenniumgoals


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