World Refugee Day 2009
Posted on: Monday, June 22, 2009
World Refugee Day was this week, so we wanted to share a few quick snapshots of the experiences and living conditions of both refugees and internally displaced people in some of the places in which we work. For years, MADRE’s work had guided us to partner with women’s community-based organizations that are grappling with the impacts of war, conflict, environmental destruction, and more. Women facing these enormous challenges have mobilized their resources to sustain their communities, and we are proud to contribute to such essential efforts.
Afghanistan currently has the second largest refugee community in the world. Since 2002, over 5 million Afghan refugees have returned home, making it the largest refugee return process to have ever taken place. Over 3 million people remain in exile. Of those refugees that have returned to Afghanistan, many are still unable to return to their homes and are forced to live in camps for internally displaced people. These camps are notorious for their lack of sanitation facilities, clean drinking water and healthcare,posing an enormous threat to their inhabitants, especially children.
MADRE’s sister organization in Afghanistan, Shuhada, supports women who often bear the brunt of conflict. Their shelters provide health care and education to women, many of whom have been left with few options because of the war.
While 1.5 million Iraqi refugees are currently living outside of Iraq, there are an additional 2.7 million displaced Iraqis within their own country, unable to access such necessities as their food rations and most are unemployed. A recent report by the UN refugee agency in Syria indicated that, over an 8-month period in 2008, nearly 500 victims of sexual and gender-based violence were identified. This brings the average to some 13 people per week. The actual levels of this violence are almost certainly underestimated due to the reluctance of women, the most common victims, to speak up.
MADRE’s sister organization, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), has witnessed and confronted the rise in violence against women since the start of the US occupation. Their network of women’s shelters protects women threatened with violence and supports their efforts to rebuild their lives.
Since 1984, 4 million Colombians have been forced to leave their homes, a number roughly the population of Kentucky. The number of people leaving their homes is increasing, with 250,000 people displaced just last year. In fact, one in ten Colombians has been forcibly displaced because of the extensive violence within their country. Displaced families coming from rural areas tend to seek safety in urban centers, although they are often ill-equipped to easily survive in urban settings due to the fact that their skills are more geared towards rural living than the urban labor market.
LIMPAL and Taller de Vida, MADRE’s two sister organizations in Colombia, support displaced women and families in their efforts to create healthy lives and communities. LIMPAL trains displaced women about their human rights and provides opportunities for income-generating projects. Taller de Vida works with women and children impacted by the war, providing trauma counseling, education and art programs.
There are currently more than 2 million internally displaced peopleliving in the Darfur region, and more than 250,000 people living in refugee camps located in Chad. Many of those refugees who have fled to Chad had already been living as displaced citizens within Darfur for extended periods of time. These camps are continuously threatened by violence, rebel recruitment and attacks by government-allied militias. What’s more, the precarious availability of necessities like food and water was catastrophically undermined earlier this year by the Sudanese government’s decision to expel major aid organizations.
MADRE sister organization Zenab for Women in Development has organized Sudanese women farmers into a union, allowing them to access much needed support and tools. Many of these women originated from the Darfur region and are now planning to raise crops to supply food aid to those remaining in the conflict zone.
Archives"Press Room" Home April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
Kat Noel, Website & Media Coordinator
PHONE: +1 212 627 0444
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
The Right to Heal: 11 Years After Iraq Invasion, U.S. Urged on Reparations for War's Enduring Wounds (Democracy Now!, March 26, 2014)
Protests Call Iraq's New Family Law 'Legalization of Pedophilia' (Rudaw, March 10, 2014)
Haiti: the neoliberal model imposed on the country is failing its citizens (The Guardian, February 5, 2014)
Human rights group slams Iraq over treatment of women in prison (Miami Herald, February 2, 2014)
New Ways to Evaluate Impact (Stanford Social Innovation Review, January 24, 2014)