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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocidei
X
Elizabeth Lee
August 31, 2015 8:23 PM
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the civil war in Guatemala. During the conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed in what is known as the Guatemalan genocide. Researchers are now collecting video testimonies of the survivors to preserve the memories of what happened to prevent future genocides. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the civil war in Guatemala. During the conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed in what is known as the Guatemalan genocide. Researchers are now collecting video testimonies of the survivors to preserve the memories of what happened to prevent future genocides. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs