News / Africa

Malian Refugees Face Increasing Risks

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The aid group Oxfam warns as fighting escalates in northern Mali, the plight of refugees is expected to get worse. It says current humanitarian operations could be overwhelmed unless major changes are made to meet growing demands.


In the past year, nearly 150,000 people have fled to Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. But while they sought safe haven in those countries, Oxfam says the refugees face increasing threats to their safety and well-being.

“In general, the situation is not good in refugee camps. If we can say that essential and basic needs have been met, there’s still lots of work to be done,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, the group’s policy and campaign manager, who is in the capital, Bamako.

Especially, she said, regarding nutrition, education and protection.

“Up to 21 percent of children in refugee camps are malnourished, which is definitely very, very high,” she said.

The warning threshold set by the World Health Organization is 15 percent. The 21 percent figure was reported at a camp in Niger.

“There’s a major shortfall in the provision of primary education. And this really puts children at further risk. In Mauritania, only 12 percent of the refugees of primary school age have been enrolled in M’bera camp in Mauritania,” she said.

Allegrozzi said that forced recruitment of the refugees by armed groups has also been a problem.

“It’s a concern. It’s a risk, as well as sexual violence for girls and women. Living in a refugee camp is not easy and people can be exposed to any sort of security incident and human rights threat,” she said.

The neighboring countries hosting the Malian refugees have faced some hard times in recent years themselves.

“Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger are very fragile countries in terms of the political situation, the security situation, but also in terms of the humanitarian situation. In 2012, there was a very serious food crisis, which affected all the Sahel countries, including those where refugees are now hosted. So resources have been affected. People have been affected. Communities have been made more vulnerable. Now, sharing resources is definitely a challenge,” she said.

Allegrozzi added that Oxfam is calling for a “significant shift in the way humanitarian operations are carried out.”

“The main challenge would be to ensure more coordination among humanitarian agencies operating in Mauritania, in Niger, in Burkina Faso, so that assistance can be delivered to those in need," he said.

Oxfam is also calling on all military forces in Mali to “respect and receive training in international humanitarian and human rights law” to help ensure the protection of civilians.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid