Five most influential Blogs

May 10, 2007

The best blogs the exemplify my best on the spot writing are: Where will the failures end; How to stop a Hemorrhage; The Long Trek Home; The continuing struggle of the Chadian Refugees; and Who else shall aide the flood of Iraqi refugees.


Where will the failures end in this never ending War?

April 9, 2007

Iraqi Girl

On top of mounting civilian deaths and the increasing violence, the failed plans and strategies, on top of all that has gone wrong in this war, probably the most tragic part has been the over looking of the Nations in this conflict of the displaced persons from Iraq who have fled for their lives. The Inter Press News Agency cites the Refugees International as saying that this is “the world’s fastest growing displacement crisis.”

This being the case why aren’t more countries helping out? It would seem to me that the responsibility for the care of these people would be those persons who made it necessary for them to move. As of 2006 the UNHCR budget for refugees was 700,000 dollars. What can you hope to accomplish with this little amount of money. The IPS states that this would come down to less than one dollar per refugee. How could a person sustain themselves on this ineffectual amount?

The question that burns in my mind is, what are the rest of the U.N nations doing? Shouldn’t they be aiding in at least the protection and care of the refugees. It is good that some of them take in Refugees into their countries and provide them with shelter, but what about the ones that aren’t so lucky as to be picked up and taken into the First World? Since this would seem to be where most of the Iraqi refugees would seem to be in Camps where sanitation and basic human needs are hard to come by this would seem to be the obvious choice in being a primary recipient of aid from donors. What keeps other nations from participating in the relief of these souls?

If Refugee camps are the main breeding grounds for terrorism then what does this say when some of the largest refugee camps are being constructed by displaced Iraqis? How will the Nations combat this new wave of violence being issued forth from these impoverished zones? The most clear, concise answer that I can give is to provide the necessary funding to these camps to construct semi-permanent housing structures and sanitation facilities that provide adequate support for the number of people living in that area. Most of these refugees seem to be looking at staying in these camps for extended periods of time, as seen with one refugee interview in the IPS Article on this situation who said “I don’t expect to go back for at least 15-20 years. I have left everything behind, and now I have nothing but a small food store I run here.” With these types of responses from displaced persons, action must be taken to accommodate them to the best of the International Communities abilities. The current conditions in which they live are unacceptable and if this is representative of the UN or the UNHCR’s best efforts then something is definitely, drastically, wrong.


How to stop a Hemmorhage?

March 26, 2007


The Gulf News article “Telling the Dark, Sordid Truth” Discusses what is one of the most important issues of this decade, which is the fleeing of Iraqis to safe havens outside of Iraq. The article is right to say that the Iraqis live in a state of terror, that they risk their lives by staying another day in their country, not knowing if tomorrow they will be murdered. This is the reason that many Iraqis are trying to get out of the country as soon as they can. The question is, that I seem to have difficulty understanding, is “is the lifeblood of Iraq is being drained away?” as the article suggests it is. The Iraqi refugees flee to save their own lives, but one day they will return, soon hopefully. This isn’t a permanent drain, only a temporary one which is necessary for their own well-being. Any place is better than Iraq, as the article itself mentions that the refugees are aware that the first safe havens they find will be “miserable”.

The fact that the article points out, which is that 1,500 Iraqis flee their homes every day is testament to the worsening situation in the country. How could a person want to return to their former homes where they are not guaranteed to live out the night? Despite the U.S efforts to propagate the notion that things are getting better, how can they be if they can not even stem the tide of refugees leaving the country. Things cannot be getting better if the U.S, Iraqi police, and the Iraqi army cannot ensure the safety of the land.

The only way to stop the Iraqis from fleeing and becoming refugees is to make them feel safe enough to stay, safe enough that they would stay not only themselves but also their families. What the Gulf News calls a Hemorrhage of the land can be fixed with the proper surgical procedures of cleaning the corrupt police force, stopping the militias, and fixing the economy of the land by stopping corrupt contracts. This Hemorrhage drains the country of the very people that is needed to fix the problems that plague this part of the world. The unstoppable drain of the land, this “Hemorrhage” is bound to get worse as the situation deteriorates.


The long Trek Home

March 7, 2007

The Refugee Camp

On a momentous move the UNHCR plans on returning 250,000 refugees back to their home land on Afghanistan according to the Dawn News Service. This is a great start on the repatriation of those individuals who have been with out homes for so long. Unfortunately this number of repatriations pales in comparison with the number of refugees still living abroad in Iran and Pakistan. According to the UNHCR report on Afghan refugees there are just about a million Afghans living in each of those countries. There are even more refugees living abroad in other countries including Germany, the U.K. and Canada.

The return of the refugees to their homeland is a symbolic step in showing the security of their homeland. While conflict may still rage on in some parts of the country it is deemed safe enough to begin the process of repatriation. Of course the number of people being returned to their homeland is insignificant to the number that remain abroad, but the fact of the matter is they are steadily being returned.

You can see how slow the process of repatriation is by examining the UNHCR report which includes the refugee spread sheet. Out of 10,000 refugees that were brought to the U.S only three were returned to Afghanistan in 2005.

Of course at the end of 2005 populations of refugees in other States such as Iran saw a sharp decrease in numbers, from the initial number of 952,802 which declined to 662,355 refugees living in the State.

The UNHCR is part of the UN, which is a IGO (Intergovernmental Organization). Since this is the case all decisions are based on policies and bureaucratic measures that dictate how many will have to leave, stay, and any logistical issues that come up with sustaining large populations of refugees. This means that it will be a very slow process that may never be complete as UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond says “This displacement has been going on for two decades or more and many of the Afghans in neighbouring countries are integrated in local society, they have businesses or jobs and families”


On the Australian standing of recent refugees.

February 26, 2007

On February 20, the Australian Navy intercepted a boat (read the article from CNN) heading towards Australia near the territory of Christmas Island and in accordance with their SOP which is called their “Pacific Solution” could be sent to a detention camp for temporary holding.

The refugees came from a couple different countries which included Sri Lanka and Indonesia. These nations are part of the Global South which are countries that countries that are less-developed than the countries in the Global North. These refugees were heading to Australia in order to become members of a country that resides in the Global North which is characterized as a area where “Peace, Wealth, and Democracy prevail” (The Global Future A brief Introduction to World Politics; Kegley).

The issue at hand is the the detention of the refugees on a offshore detention facility located on Nauru which processes the claims of the individuals. Do these individuals deserve to be placed in a detention facility, offshore non-the less? How long will it take to process the cases of these individuals (previous cases have taken up to three years)? Do refugees fleeing certain aspects of their homeland such as extreme poverty and violence in search of a better life merit the detention and criminalization of their plight?

Of course in order to under stand the situation better other questions need to be asked, in particular regarding the detention center itself. Some question are: What are the conditions of the detention centers like? What restrictions are placed on the interned? How are the facilities guarded? Are the detainees regarded as prisoners or temporary residents?

These are important questions that will in the end show whether or not the Australian Government is upholding what the Amnesty International describes as its “International Obligation”.


The continuing struggle of the Chadian Refugees

February 19, 2007

The plight of the tribes of Chad has been gradually getting worse due to Arab Janjaweed militias continuing their raids on the non-arab tribes of the region. According to The Indepentant article “Please send UN troops, say desperate refugees in Chad” more than 120,000 people were displaced over the past nine months. This spur in violence has created the demand for the UN to send in a peacekeeping force of which has already diliberated sending some 6,000 trooops to the region in order to help stem the tide of violence which has wracked the area for some time.

While the main focus for peacekeeping efforts has never really been the focus of any countries, as seen time and time again with genocide or refugee crisis in the African states, this conflict in Chad should be addressed becuase in a time of intense refugee flows not only from Africa but also the middle countries of which are in conflict due to the “War on Terror” (i.e. Afghanistan and Iraq) becuase it displays the political and humantarian commitment to human rights and the quest to make the human condition of suffering lessened. It would seem to be the moral obligation of all nations to help those who cannot be helped within their own borders and protected by their own government.

The Dajo people (the tribal people who are fleeing the violence) cannot defend themselves against the heavily armed miltias that hunt them down relentlesly. The most that the Dajo have to defend themselves are bows and arrows along with spears. The militias are armed with rifles, machine guns, and RPGs. Kind of a unfair advantage to the Dajo. It is no wonder that they are fleeing in such numbers.

A proximate cause of the push by the arab militias and the native tribes is one of resources. As explained by one Ms. Bennet “The conflict is about a lack of resources, This is an area where traditionally there have always been rivalries between different groups around water, land and pasture. Previously there may have been small tensions. But these rivalries are spiralling out of control. People are forming armed groups and attacking each other.”

The push for resource conquest is an issue that has gone on for generations. On a larger international scale it still occurs. A resolution for the distribution of equal resources is a issue that should addressed in the conflict resolution process. Once both parties get the resources of which they lack, perhaps they will be less inclined to engage hostile actions towards their neighbors which with whom they may have previously had good relations.

In a area with as sparse resources as Chad, control and management of resources will aid in lessing the tribal conflicts. In order to manage the resources between the tribes a good infrastructure between the government and the outlying areas need to first be established. Communications between the tribes is imperative to lessen the tensions brought on by resource exploitation.


And who else shall aid the flood of Iraqi refugees?

February 13, 2007

In the BBC article “Sweden urges EU to take in Iraqis” The Swedish governement basically is asking for more involvement in the aid of the Iraqi refugees. The swedish ministry is quoted as saying “Sweden can help many of them but Sweden cannot help all of them,”. This shows in some aspects how the Swedish government is feeling a little overwhelmed, especially these days where the number of asylum seekers is pegged at 9,000 just in 2006. The total number of Iraqis who now live in Sweden is at 80,000.

Sweden is definitaly doing its part in this grave humanitarian crisis. Allowing that number of foreigners into their country shows a commitment to humanitarian services. If the rest of the EU would stop its usual rhetoric of the war being ill-conceived and live in the present I am sure that many more lives could be made better and even saved.

Of course one must also see that the Iraqis need to receive aid from their own neighbors, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the rest of the middle east. What ends up happening more often then not is the refugees will only go to countries that are dominated by the same sect of islam that they follow, which should morally not be the case, but it is what it is.

The article states that “Authority expects the number of Iraqis applying for asylum to double in 2007.” This is most likely a accurate forecast especially since the sectarian violence is at its all time high and the flow of asylum seekers only grows with each passing month. With this tide of refugees, it is the international communitie’s moral obligation to provide aid and shelter a people left homeless by a war with no end in sight. Of course this is only the liberal, idealist position.