News / Africa

Aid Group Warns Against IDP Return to Mali North

FILE - A photo taken on April 10, 2013 shows French soldiers taking part, 105 kms north of the northeastern Malian city of Gao, in an operation to find Islamist fighters.
FILE - A photo taken on April 10, 2013 shows French soldiers taking part, 105 kms north of the northeastern Malian city of Gao, in an operation to find Islamist fighters.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on displaced people in Mali

Joe DeCapua
The humanitarian group – Refugees International – says it’s too soon to send displaced Malians back home. The ngo calls the government move to return them to the north dangerously premature.


Refugees International has released a new report called Hidden and in Need: Urban Displacement in Southern Mali.

Michelle Brown, RI’s Senior Advocate and the group’s representative to the United Nations,  said, “The government has been encouraging IDPs to return to the north because, as you know, returns are often very political. IDP and refugee returns show a certain level of stability. And the government is eager to show that they have regained control over the north and that the security threats have diminished. And as we’ve seen that’s not the case.”

It’s estimated most of Mali’s 283,000 displaced people live in the south.  But Brown said tens of thousands have returned to the north.

“It’s still not secure enough for widespread returns and basic services are not in place to the level necessary to allow for widespread returns.”

Refugees International bases its findings on comments from Malians who have returned to the north.

“They explain that government officials have not returned to the north in any significant way. You know, they might go to the north for a night and then return to Bamako. And they’re also worried about the level of security. They’re worried about the lack of presence of police. And they believe that in many cases it’s too insecure for them to return,” she said.

Brown said it’s also too dangerous for many displaced women and girls to go back north.

“Many women experience sexual violence in the north. Of course we don’t know the numbers, but in our interviews it was widespread enough to be of a concern. And many women and girls were subject to forced and early marriage to some of the armed actors in the north. So when they came to the south – when they fled to the south – they were extremely traumatized and there were very few services available for them. So very few psychological services -- and healthcare was somewhat limited to respond to the specific health needs of sexual violence,” she said.

She also said many women were forced to have – what she calls – survival sex – to get the resources necessary to feed their families.

Most Malian IDPs in the south, she said, are not in camps, but in rented housing or with host families.

“Basic services are lacking in the south. Most Malians are impoverished and the government has not been able to provide the services that they need. So when you have an influx of IDPs it makes competition for services severe. It leads to an increase in rent – increase in the price of food – increased competition for employment opportunities.”

Brown added that Refugee International and many other humanitarian organizations say the terrorist threat remains very real. Three al Qaeda-linked groups invaded northern Mali last year. It took French-led intervention to drive out the militias from Gao and many other places. However, insecurity remains a problem and periodic attacks still occur.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid