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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora