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IRIN - Chad


We are not the world: Inside the “perfect storm” of famine

Wed, 27 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0000

Like the four countries facing extreme hunger crises today, the famine that gripped Ethiopia from 1983 to 1985 struggled for attention until it was far too late. There was conflict. There had been years of consecutive drought – similar to Somalia now. The government spent its money on fighting, not aid. The rich world eventually reacted, with Bob Geldof and Live Aid at the forefront of a public funding campaign. But access in a time of war was hard. By 1984, 200,000 mostly starving Ethiopians had died, young children often the first to go. The final toll was closer to one million. More than three decades later, the stakes are arguably even higher. A badly strained humanitarian system finds itself facing not one but four vast challenges. In all, more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation and famine across South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and northeastern Nigeria. Much has been learnt since 1984: the value of building resilience before crises arrive, the role climate change plays, the imperative of early conflict prevention, the importance of cash aid, the need to prioritise water as well as food. Nonetheless, the goal posts for those struggling to reach the world’s most vulnerable and provide them with life-saving assistance have shifted. Why? The simple answer is conflict. It’s the one factor that afflicts all four famine-facing regions listed above. And that’s not to mention how the effects of war in places like Iraq and Syria, including the mass migration to Europe, have drained valuable humanitarian resources and donor dollars. As Nancy Lindborg, president of the US Institute of Peace, pointed out in testimony last week before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “humanitarian assistance flows have shifted from 80 percent of global aid going to victims of natural disasters to now 80 percent going to assist victims of violent conflict.” Unfortunately, Lindborg’s remarks may well have fallen on deaf ears: President Donald Trump’s administration is threatening draconian cuts to the State Department’s budget, affecting US funding for everything from UN peacekeeping to the United Nations Development Programme and UNICEF.   allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="260" id="datawrapper-chart-2KOBf" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%">   At the worst end of both scales, we see a cluster of troubled countries, Afghanistan and Somalia in particular, both facing the impact of years of conflict and severe poverty.  At the bottom left are some Nordic countries and Singapore - neither corrupt nor risky in humanitarian terms.  A few countries appear to buck the trend: Kazakhstan scores badly on corruption but isn't looking too bad on humanitarian risk, while for Mali and Ethiopia, it's the reverse.   Are corrupt countries more vulnerable? Are vulnerable countries more corrupt? A camel caravan in northern Kenya. Conflict in Somalia is spilling over into parts of northeastern Kenya Ben Parker Maps and Graphics Aid and Policy Politics and Economics LONDON IRIN Africa East Africa Central African Republic Kenya Somalia South Sudan Sudan Uganda Southern Africa West Africa Chad Nigeria Americas Haiti Asia Afghanistan Bangladesh Myanmar New Zealand North Korea Europe Denmark Finland Germany Luxembourg Norway Sweden United Kingdom Global Singapore Middle East and North Africa Iraq Yemen العربية [...]

AQIM incident map

Fri, 15 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0000

This is a quick map of conflict events attributed to AQIM from 2007-2015, compiled from the ACLED dataset. Search by location, click a dot for event details.

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(image) Millet preparation in Bandiagara, Mopti Region of Mali. The crop has been hit by a succession of poor harvests. Ben Parker Maps and Graphics Conflict Human Rights LONDON IRIN Africa West Africa Burkina Faso Chad Mali Mauritania Niger Senegal Libya Algeria

Boko Haram arrests worsen Cameroon prison conditions

Wed, 06 Jan 2016 00:00:00 +0000

Detention conditions in Cameroon's prisons are worsening as thousands of people suspected to have links with Nigeria-based terrorist group Boko Haram are thrown in jail. Since 2014, at least 1,300 people have been “arbitrarily arrested, and many held in deplorable conditions, which have led to dozens of deaths,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s director for West and Central Africa. At least 700 of these suspected Boko Haram terrorists are currently detained in Maroua Central Prison, where already poor conditions “have been worsened by these massive arrests of Boko Haram suspects”, the attorney general for the Far North Regional Court of Appeals, Joseph Belporo, told IRIN. Under Cameroon’s 2014 anti-terrorism law, the military and police have been raiding homes and markets along the northern border with Nigeria searching for suspected Boko Haram militants. Most of those taken into custody are teenage boys and men, and they are often arrested dozens at a time. Many families say they still don’t know where their loved ones were taken. “It [has become] a normal thing for innocent citizens to be arrested and detained for the purpose of investigations at this moment when the country is at war with a terrorist organisation,” said Eva Etongue, of the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms. “But we are concerned with how these suspects are treated and how long they are being held in custody.” See: Cameroon pays high price for joining Boko Haram fight Cameroon’s penal code allows judges to keep suspects in pre-trial detention for a period of six months, renewable once, but human rights advocates say many of these prisoners have been held for much longer. “Since the government started arresting Boko Haram suspects, I am not sure they have released any of them,” Marie Nana Abunaw, who runs a local NGO called Prisons Fellowship, told IRIN. Overcrowded and unsanitary Statistics from the NCHRF indicate there are now a total of 26,702 inmates in Cameroon prisons. Maximum capacity is not meant to exceed 17,000. The commission’s most recent report on the state of prisons found there is “little or no access by detainees to adequate healthcare facilities, [and] poor sanitation and inadequate feeding.” Due to rationing, each prisoner receives just one meal a day, worth less than 150FCFA ($0.25), they say. A September report by Amnesty International found that at least 40 inmates at Maroua Central Prison died between March and May last year as a result of inadequate health care and poor sanitation. The government has denied such allegations, and says that security officers involved in one particular case, where 25 people died while in custody, are no longer on the staff. Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma Backary maintains that the arrests and detentions are “within the prerogatives of the armed forces, who are facing a faceless enemy,” and that the objective of the raids is to “protect national territories and citizens”. He insists that soldiers don’t intentionally detain innocent citizens without cause. Responding to the concerns about overcrowding and the protracted detention periods, the president of the Far North Regional Court of Appeals, Fonkwe Joseph Fongang, blamed the situation on a host of factors: a shortage of magistrates; a lack of courtrooms at the military tribunal; lengthy trial procedures; and a “non-mastery” of the new criminal procedural code by some magistrates. A wake-up call? Prisons Fellowship’s Abunaw, who also served for 31 years as prisons general in Cameroon’s Ministry of Justice, said more must be done to improve the conditions for pre-trial detainees. “Despite the rise in the number of inmates in Cameroon prisons due to the war against Boko Haram, the government has not increased the usual funds allocated for food and other facilities for prisoners,” she said. “That is why their situation is getting worse by the day.” In Maroua Central Prison, for example, there is no run[...]