“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bloggers Unite For Refugees

Today is the day we give our voice for those who have none. Today is the day we unite for refugees. We are banding together to give the world the stories of families torn asunder by war. Men who do not know where their wives are. Mothers who do not know where their children are. Help the refugees of the world find their loved ones. Help them get the message, I am alive, I am here!

With the call of a cease fire in Goma, thousands of war weary refugees strive to reach their homes they had fled when the fighting started. American and U.N. envoys join forces to try to find a solution to the region’s long running rebellion.

Laurent Nkunda's renegade movement called a truce after an upsurge of fighting this week. He said he wanted the cease-fire to allow humanitarian help to get through and refugees to go home.

The U.N. refugee agency said it was getting reports that 50,000 people, in desperate need of help, have been forced out of refugee camps and settlements in rebel-held areas near the town of Rutshuru in recent days.

Women whose faces streamed with sweat carried bundles of belongings on their backs and toddlers on their necks.
Rhema Harerimana, who has been on the run for five days, told the AP "We've had nothing to eat for three days, There's no shelter, there's no food, My only choice is to go home." she said.
She is trying to make it back  home Friday to Kibumba, about 17 miles (28 kilometers) from Goma.
Nkunda's rebellion has threatened to reignite the back-to-back wars that afflicted Congo from 1996 to 2002, drawing in eight African nations.  Elected in 2006 in the first vote in 40 years, President Joseph Kabila has struggled ever since to contain the bloody insurgency in the east.

Jendayi Frazer, the top U.S. envoy for Africa and Alan Doss, the top U.N. envoy in Congo, flew into Goma on Friday to try to help. They met with Julien Mpaluku, Goma’s Governor, along with government ministers and local officials.

Nkunda began a low-level rebellion in 2004, claiming Congo's transition to democracy had excluded the Tutsi ethnic group. Despite agreeing in January to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire, he resumed fighting in August.
Nkunda charges the Congolese government has not protected ethnic Tutsis from the Rwandan Hutu militia that escaped to Congo after helping slaughter half a million Rwandan Tutsis in 1994. Congo has charges Nkunda himself with involvement in war crimes, and Human Rights Watch say it has documented summary executions, torture, and rape committed by soldiers under Nkunda’s command in 2002 and 2004.

Rights groups have also accused government forces of atrocities and widespread looting.

A team from International Medical Corps trying to reach a clinic in Kibumba, were stopped by a rebel guard, who said he needed permission from a higher up to let them pass. Two hours later they were still waiting. Close by, rebels refuse to allow a group of about twenty drivers of motorbike taxis to return home. “Those new soldiers have blocked us from returning,” said driver Ruwara Nuyubuzu, referring to the rebels manning a checkpoint. “We want to go home.”

Village chief Gatambaza Kariwabo says soldiers have looted homes and the bank in Kibumba.

The United Nations has approx. 17,000 Congo peacekeepers. They only have about 6,000 of these I the east because of unrest in other provinces.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking to reporters in New Delhi, urged all sides to respect the cease-fire. He also said he was concerned about attacks on U.N. workers by Congolese who accused them of not protecting the population.
This comes from a purely, some purely misunderstandings from them," Ban said. "United Nations is there to keep peace and stability."

  – People walk past a United Nations armoured vehicle, not seen, in Goma in eastern Congo, Thursday, Oct. …


Anonymous said...

It's so sad that this is all happening again. The aid agencies can hardly cope, so people are having to return home even though it's not safe. I read a story of how one woman was displaced seven times in the last 15 months. How dreadful is that.

earthlingorgeous said...

What a great post. I have to agree that it is sad that these things happen and it happens everywhere.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post! My hat is off to you as always, thanks for telling these stories.


J.M said...

It is so tragic that people can do this to each other. As if 1994 wasn't too much. Thanks for posting.

Me-Me King said...

It's truly a sad and scary situation. Thank you for raising awareness for this ongoing crisis. Very well done.

Unknown said...

Thank you all very much for visiting my humble blog. It is late for me to say it but I appreciate your comments. I will hopefully see you on AIDS day.


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