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Archive for the tag “Sanitation”

UPDF Disengages from the Central African Republic (19.04.2017)

Note to Correspondents on the investigations into allegations ‎of sexual exploitation and abuse against peacekeepers deployed in the Central African Republic (05.12.2016)

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The Office of Internal Oversight Services has concluded its investigative process on the allegations ‎of sexual exploitation and abuse against Burundian and Gabonese contingents deployed in Dekoa, Kemo prefecture, in the Central African Republic. 

These allegations referred to incidents between 2014 and 2015. OIOS has conducted joint investigations with Burundian and Gabonese national investigative officers. Investigations started in April 2016, a few days after the allegations were brought to the attention of the United Nations and lasted for more than four months. The investigators relied primarily on the testimony of possible victims and witnesses given the lack of medical, forensic or any other physical evidence. This was due to the fact that the majority of the allegations referred to incidents that took place a year or more earlier. Everyone who came forward with claims, both minors and adults, were assisted by national and international partners.

Overall, 139 possible victims were interviewed and their accounts were investigated. By means of photo array and/or other corroborating evidence a total of 41 alleged perpetrators (16 from Gabon and 25 from Burundi) were identified by 45 interviewees; eight persons were unable to identify perpetrators through photo array or other corroborating evidence but were able to describe some distinctive traits; 83 were not able to identify perpetrators or provide corroborating evidence; and three accounts were considered unreliable. A total of 25 minors asserted they had been sexually abused. A total of eight paternity claims were filed, including by six minors.

The United Nations has shared the OIOS report with both Member States, including the names of the identified alleged perpetrators and has requested for appropriate judicial actions to ensure criminal accountability.

Responsibility for further investigations lies with Burundi and Gabon. The United Nations has requested from the Burundian and Gabonese authorities that they review the OIOS findings and conduct the interviews of the alleged perpetrators who had all been rotated out from Central African Republic before the allegations surfaced. The United Nations has asked for a copy of the final national investigation reports to be transmitted urgently.

The alleged perpetrators, if allegations against them are substantiated, and, if warranted, their commanding officers, will not be accepted again for deployment in peacekeeping operations.

MINUSCA has strengthened its prevention measures and reinforced its outreach among communities and peacekeepers across the country, especially in high-risk areas to improve awareness and reporting on sexual exploitation and abuse and other forms of misconduct. The Mission is also regularly monitoring conditions and behaviour of mission’s personnel and has partnered with United Nations agencies and implementing partners in Central African Republic that provide psychosocial, medical and legal assistance to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.

The United Nations condemns, in the strongest terms, all acts of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by peacekeepers or any other UN personnel and will maintain follow up so that perpetrators of these abhorrent acts are brought to justice.

South Sudan: UNICEF sounds alarm on ‘catastrophic’ food insecurity in country (06.08.2016)

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5 August 2016 The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today that it is responding to a growing food security emergency causing malnutrition in children in both rural and urban areas of crisis-gripped South Sudan.

“The situation in South Sudan is catastrophic, and even more so for children,” UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac told a news briefing in Geneva, where he also pointed out that so far this year, the agency has treated 120,000 children under age five for severe malnutrition; a nearly 50 per cent increase over the same period in 2015.

Initially, UNICEF had been planning to provide support to 166,000 children in 2016, but that figure has been revised to more than 250,000, he added.

Seven out of the country’s 10 states have reached the malnutrition-rate-emergency threshold of 15 per cent, while in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, the malnutrition rate stands at 33 per cent, he explained.

UNICEF has also noted a sharp rise in malnutrition in South Sudan’s urban areas, including the capital, Juba, where the rates of children admitted for malnutrition to UNICEF-supported Al-Sabbah children’s hospitals were some 20 per cent higher in the first six months of 2016 than for the same period last year. The spokesperson cited the country’s inflation rate as one of the main reasons for the high increase, explaining that it made basic household staples too expensive for many families.

Mr. Boulierac stated that while UNICEF could not provide figures of children dying from starvation, “one quarter of a million children in South Sudan are facing severe malnutrition.”

According to the spokesperson, with a number of roads inaccessible, the ongoing conflict has further limited UNICEF’s ability to respond – leaving, in the most urgent cases, the more expensive option of air transport for delivering supplies.

Additionally, Mr. Boulierac stressed that “due to insecurity and the rainy season, UNICEF staff in South Sudan are unable to be fully mobile and deliver their goods and services.”

Mr. Boulierac said that of the $154.5 million UNICEF needs for South Sudan in 2016, the Fund had, to date, received only $52 million to assist with water and sanitation; child support services; nutrition; health; and education.

He indicated that more than 900,000 children have been displaced in the country, which – with 1.8 million children, or 51 per cent of school-age youngsters out of school – also had the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world.

“An estimated 16,000 children had been recruited by armed groups, and there were concerns that the renewed violence would lead to a further expansion of that practice,” explained the spokesperson.

He also called attention to the fact that sexual violence and rape had been used as a weapon of war, saying “all the ingredients were there to be extremely concerned.”

Between 8 and 25 July, at least 72 civilian deaths and 217 cases of sexual violence had been documented in Juba alone.

The spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), William Spindler, added that the total number of South Sudanese refugees in the region stood at 917,418 – most of whom are sheltering in Uganda.

The recent fighting in South Sudan between rival forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing First Vice-President Riek Machar – erupted in and around Juba, on 7 July, close to the fifth anniversary of its independence.

The young country has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between the two leaders erupted into conflict in December 2013. The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.

Press Statement: Increased displacement out of South Sudan into Sudan fuelled by food insecurity

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This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 29 March 2016, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR is concerned by the increasing number of South Sudanese fleeing into Sudan because of increased food insecurity caused by the ongoing conflict and deteriorating economic conditions. Heightened food insecurity and growing unrest in parts of South Sudan, especially in the north-western States of Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Warrap, have resulted in the flight of some 38,000 people into East and South Darfur since end of January. UNHCR fears the situation could quickly worsen as the nutrition situation in Upper Nile, Warrap, and Northern Bahr Ghazal grows increasingly serious.

The Government of Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission reported the arrival of 2,328 South Sudanese in El Meiram and 2,520 in Kharasana, in West Kordofan State. These new arrivals, which may be under-counted, have reached Sudan in poor health, many having risked their lives en route. They need humanitarian help including food, water, basic relief items, SGBV prevention and response as well as family reunification. UNHCR led a mission to El Meiram on 20 and 21 March to assess the level and nature of the needs. In East Darfur, an average of 500 South Sudanese or 100 households have been arriving per day, rising to over 150 households last week, with a total of 35,234 as of 23 March, and more are expected in the coming days.

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They have mostly settled in Khor Omer IDP camp, with smaller numbers arriving in the villages of Adila, Bahr Alara, Asalaya, Abu Karinka and Abu Jabra. The situation is desperate with most new arrivals having travelled up to 4 weeks before reaching Khor Omer, carrying few personal belongings and in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. UNHCR will coordinate, along with OCHA, the overall humanitarian response, which focuses on the areas of protection, public health and nutrition, sanitation, basic relief items, SGBV prevention and response as well as child protection. UNHCR is also advocating for direct access to East Darfur to support the response.

In South Darfur, over 2000 new arrivals were registered in Beliel Camp. Many of them arrived with no identification documents and are in need of humanitarian assistance, in particular food and hygiene items such as soap and jerry cans. Many children have been separated from their families. UNHCR led an inter-agency needs assessment mission last week to determine the needs of both the new arrivals and the host communities, which are over-stretched as each household is hosting an additional 25 to 35 people. The assessment indicates that refugees have faced insecurity en route to Sudan, are now living in overcrowded conditions with many of them being sick and in need of medical attention.

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The conflict that erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 has produced one of the world’s largest humanitarian emergencies with 2.3 million people forced to flee their homes, 678,000 of these across borders as refugees and 1.69 million displaced inside the country. Growing food insecurity and ongoing conflict are causing more and more South Sudanese to flee either across borders or inside the country. They are among 2.8 million people across South Sudan officially classified as facing a ‘crisis’ or ’emergency’ of food insecurity, according to Fewsnet, the global body mandated to monitor such situations.

With the number of South Sudanese fleeing their country increasing rapidly, UNHCR is extremely worried that the 2016 South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP) that covers the refugee programmes in the neighbouring countries, run by UNHCR and 39 partners, is only funded at 3 per cent. This leaves many lifesaving activities such as the provision of clean water, sanitation and health services, food and shelter severely underfunded.

Press Release: EU provides €5 million in humanitarian aid for the Burundian crisis (17.12.2015)

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The European Commission has today released €5 million in new humanitarian assistance to help the increasing number of Burundians affected by the ongoing instability in the country.

The European Commission has today released €5 million in new humanitarian assistance to help the increasing number of Burundians affected by the ongoing instability in the country. The additional support brings total Commission humanitarian aid to help the Burundian people to €14 million in 2015.

More than 220 000 people, over half of whom are children, are estimated to have left the country since April this year to neighbouring countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda.

“The humanitarian situation affecting Burundians is worsening. The refugee numbers are rising, with almost a quarter of a million people having now fled their homes. This is extremely worrying – both for Burundi, and for the neighbouring countries whose hosting capabilities have been stretched to the limit. Hosting government’s efforts in welcoming those who fled the violence are commendable. This additional EU funding will help address the refugees’ most pressing needs, notably in Tanzania. It will also contribute to humanitarian protection activities inside Burundi.” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

The most urgent humanitarian needs to address remain shelter, water and sanitation, as well as health assistance to stop the possible surge of diseases and epidemics, notably cholera.

Background:

Following the announcement on 25 April 2015 that President Pierre Nkurunziza would seek a third mandate, provoking serious political division, Burundi has undergone a sustained political and security crisis  – this crisis brought with it a surge in the number of refugees.

Tanzania has received the highest number of Burundian refugees so far (nearly 117 000) mostly to the Nyarugusu refugee camp, which was already hosting some 60 000 Congolese refugees. Nyarugusu has consequently become one of the largest and most overcrowded refugee camps in the world. While two news camps are under construction to decongest Nyarugusu, living conditions there continue to be dire. Hundreds of people still live in overcrowded mass shelters months after their arrival, while wet floors and cramped conditions increase risks of respiratory infections and waterborne diseases.

As Delivered: UN Assistant Secretary-General Kwang-Wha Kang remarks to the EU Pledging Conference on the Central African Republic (Brussels – 26.05.2015)

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Press release: Red Cross responds to growing need for regional assistance following Burundi pre-election violence (23.05.2015)

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Nairobi/Geneva 23 May 2015 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is deeply concerned about the current situation in Burundi and its humanitarian consequences in the country and region.

Pre-election tension and violence have intensified in recent weeks in Burundi, resulting in a number of casualties in the capital of Bujumbura. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled across the country’s borders into neighbouring Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.

The Rwandan Red Cross reports that 26,756 Burundians have crossed its border over the past three weeks, while UNHCR reports at least 76,520 Burundians have fled to Tanzania.

In Tanzania, the men, women and children, who fled their homes only with what they could carry, are also now facing a cholera outbreak. According to health officials, 33 people have died so far. The outbreak is feared to be worsening with more than 2,000 suspected cases now reported, increasing at the rate of 300 to 400 new cases per day, particularly in Kagunga and nearby areas. At least 15 suspected cases have been reported on the Burundi side of the border. Many cases of acute watery diarrhoea have also been reported.

“Over half of the refugees from Burundi who seek refuge in Tanzania are children who are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases like cholera. Many of the families arriving are female-led which makes them even more vulnerable to violence and insecurity,” said Finn Jarle Rode, IFRC regional representative, East Africa. “There are urgent needs in water and sanitation, health, first aid and shelter.”

IFRC is supporting National Red Cross Societies in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania in responding to the urgent and rising humanitarian needs, especially those of woman and children who are the most affected in the current crisis, and to ensure close collaboration and coordination between the three National Societies.

On 20 May, IFRC launched an emergency appeal for 1 million Swiss francs to support the Tanzanian Red Cross Society in delivering assistance to 20,000 Burundian refugees with a focus on emergency health, water, sanitation, hygiene promotion, emergency shelter, and relief. Since the beginning of the crisis, staff and volunteers of the Tanzania Red Cross Society have been on the frontline of the response, providing people in need with immediate humanitarian assistance. A Field Assessment Coordination Team (FACT) has also been deployed to further evaluate the needs of the refugees and update the Red Cross response plan accordingly.

In Burundi, the Red Cross deployed three first aid mobile response teams in Bujumbura. They are offering onsite first aid treatment, evacuation of the injured to hospitals, and referrals of pregnant women caught up in the violence. Burundi Red Cross is monitoring the situation closely in all provinces and has pre-positioned stocks to be able to adapt its response to the fast changing context.

In Rwanda, the National Society has been supporting refugees at different entry points, in two transit camps and in one permanent camp with registration, first aid, psychosocial support, distribution of non-food items and helping separated family members regain contact with their loved ones.

“The Red Cross is on the front lines of this response, and currently, a lot remains unknown,” said Jarle Rode. “As the needs of those affected become clearer through our on-going assessments, we will undoubtedly have to seek significant additional resources to ensure affected people and families in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania receive the humanitarian support they deserve.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org/africa. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

Press Release: UNHCR and partners appeal for US$207 million for Burundi Emergency (23.05.2015)

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Press Releases, 22 May 2015

Today the UN Refugee Agency and 17 partners launched the Regional Refugee Response Plan to protect and assist up to 200,000 Burundian refugees in the neighbouring countries.

Since early April, nearly 100,000 Burundians have fled political turmoil, violence and intimidation and sought safety in neighbouring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As the situation in Burundi remains tense and violence continues to be reported, aid agencies fear that the number of refugees may double over the next six months.

“Burundi does not need another crisis”, High Commissioner Guterres said, referring to Burundi’s civil war that lasted from 1993 2005 and sent hundreds of thousands of Burundians into exile. “After the progress that had been made under the Arusha peace accords, it is heart-breaking that people have to flee their country again.”

Guterres praised the neighbouring countries for keeping their borders open and called on the international donor community to support the Regional Refugee Response Plan. “The authorities and host communities have been very generous in welcoming the refugees and allowing them to share local resources. I hope that the international community will match this generosity”.

Under the plan, participating agencies appeal for USD 207 million for basic protection and assistance activities until September 2015, when the plan will be reviewed. Arriving refugees will be registered and documented, undergo immediate health screening and receive food assistance and basic relief item such as blankets, mosquito nets, soap and plastic sheeting. In Tanzania and Rwanda, the refugees will be transferred to refugee camps, where they will receive shelter material, domestic items and have access to basic health and sanitation services. In South Kivu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many of the new arrivals found shelter with long-staying Burundian refugees who had fled the civil war. The arriving refugees will eventually also move to a site, and UNHCR and its partners plan to reinforce local services and facilities to benefit both refugees and the host community. Providing clean water, sanitation and health services as well as shelter are the main priorities of the Regional Refugee Response Plan.

CSO Proposals to WASH Forum Water and Sanitation (Proposals towards Uganda’s National Budget Framework FY 2015-2016)

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