Read in French Cases of arbitrary killings, robberies, looting and abductions have been reported throughout Central African Republic since Seleka rebel forces seized power in March. “I saw a man walking down the street. Armed men called out to him. Then he was shot and killed for no reason,” said Solange. “I have been living in fear for the past three months. I just stay at home all day. The school is closed any way.” As well as widespread criminality and human rights abuses, concerns have been raised over the forced recruitment of teenagers by armed groups. Meanwhile, basic services have ground to a halt. A Caritas aid worker said that without the rule of law, many schools have not reopened and even where they have, only few students are attending.
By Guy-Marin Kamandji
After about six months of a truce, fighting has resumed around the eastern Congolese city of Goma, in North Kivu. An offensive by M23 rebels started on Monday 20 May at dawn in Mutaho.
Eye-witnesses, speaking on Radio Okapi, said, “We heard heavy arms fire on the hills around our homes from about 4 in the morning. We left immediately without taking anything. It is under these conditions that we arrived at Mugunga… we were scattered. There are people who have not found their children.”
Caritas says it registered 132 families in Mugunga III camp on Monday from Mutaho.
“M23 troops resumed fighting in the early hours of Monday. These clashes have caused a panic among the population of several villages and many people have moved to a neighborhood in the north east of Goma,” said Caritas Goma.
“Our last information is that 3000 people have arrived at the St.Francis Xavier […]
By Guy-Marin Kamandji, Caritas Congo Musawu walks with a firm step, carrying 20 litres of water on her head with great agility. The water must be equivalent to about half the 10 year old girl’s weight. It’s Monday morning in Bukwa Mulumba, a town in Kasai Central in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Musawu still has to make the 2.5 km trip from her home to the water point and back two more times today. “When there is enough water at home, then my mother lets me go to school. Tomorrow I will be able to go to school,” she says. She is not the only one making the walk on the slippery slope. Mrs Kanyeba, a young woman, doesn’t have the 250 to 300 Congolese Francs (about 20 cents) to buy 20 litres of water in her village, so she must make the journey herself. “After four trips with 20 […]
By Bishop Audo of Aleppo, Caritas Syria President For two years Syria has been pulled apart by conflict. Violence and anarchy have become widespread. We have become conditioned by tragedy. Our minds and hearts have been constricted by fear and by caution. But I do my best to keep my heart and eyes open to what is happening. And I’m pained by the terrible poverty I see. A few days ago, I was walking in Souleimanié, a Christian quarter in Aleppo. People were surprised to see me walking alone. Immediately they feared that I might be kidnapped. The kidnappings of two priests and two bishops have traumatized many Christians in Syria. As I walked, I saw four children in their early teens sitting around a table on the pavement playing cards. They were the children of merchants. They no longer go to school but just send their time playing cards. […]
Pictures are said to speak a thousand words, but sometimes a paragraph works just as well. This is the picture that Bishop Juan José Aguirre of Bangassou recently painted of the Central African Republic in an email to Cordaid (Caritas Netherlands).
“Roads are closed and officials cannot get to their places of work. People in Bangui are isolated and institutions in the rest of the country remain unmanned,” wrote Bishop Bangassou towards the end of April.
”Salaries are no longer being paid, families have become even poorer, people have less to eat, and school contributions can no longer be paid. Gasoline supplies have also dried up. This means that traffic will come to a standstill and generators will no longer work. As a knock-on effect there will be no electricity to charge mobile phones, no power to operate oxygen and other equipment in hospitals. There will also be no transport for […]
Catholic leaders, academics, and U.S. government officials addressed Catholic peacebuilding and U.S. foreign policy at a major conference, Peacebuilding 2013: Pacem in Terris at 50, April 9-10, at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
Fifty years ago, Pacem in terris broke new ground by elaborating an approach to peace and engagement in the world that went beyond merely avoiding violence. Using human rights as a foundation for a vision of peace that involves authentic development and a just world order, Pacem in terris catalyzed what has become a vibrant and broad engagement in peacebuilding by Catholic actors around the world and at all levels.
In his keynote address, Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, issued a call to those present: “The pressing question now is the manner in which everyone of good will may make peacebuilding their own personal practice, rather than […]
By Soraya Naufal, Caritas Lebanon – Information and Communication Department The number of Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in March 2011 has officially reached the alarming figure of one million individuals (mostly women and children). This, in a country of approximately four million inhabitants, already shaken by numerous conflicts over the past five decades, could lead to a disastrous humanitarian situation. In order to reduce and prevent, from the start, social and humanitarian complications, Caritas Lebanon was among the first NGOs to rapidly deploy in the Bekaa valley and in the border regions, thus relieving both Christian and Muslim Syrian refugees and providing them with basic humanitarian needs: clothes, food, blankets… Its intervention is set up in collaboration with the UNHCR and the UNICEF, and according to the SPHERE standards. Medical assistance targets mainly women and children in Caritas Lebanon’s Health […]
By Taylor Toeka, Caritas Goma
Germain Muhindo comes top of his class almost always, yet a few months ago the eight year old first grader had never even seen a chalkboard. But he had seen war. He was forced into being a child soldier for three months in September 2012 by fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s ravaged east.
“We were working to the fields when we met the rebels,” said Germain. “They ordered my older brother, who is thirteen, to carry their bags. He refused so they hit him and made him do it. As there were only two of us, they made me come along too.”
Half a million people were driven from their homes in North Kivu last year and thousands of children were taken to be used as soldiers, cooks, messengers, porters or the girls as sex slaves by government and rebel forces.
“Every day I thought of […]
By Caritas staff These last three days have been particularly difficult and deadly in Aleppo. Caritas works in the Jabal Es Saydeh quarter with families who have been forced from their homes. But it is now empty of all its residents, driven from their homes by heavy fighting. The local sheikh was murdered. He had opposed the armed groups. He was beheaded and his severed head displayed for passersby to see. Homes have been occupied by fighters and used as advanced firing positions. Bullets and bombs rain down ceaselessly on Jabal Es Saydeh and adjacent neighbourhoods. Snipers dominate the city. They’ve moved into areas previously thought safe before. Christian parts of the city which were thought safe have become the front line. Families have had to flee from place to place looking for safety. Aleppo has witnessed a major wave of people, both Christian and Muslim, leaving because they no […]
By Caritas Lebanon Migrants Centre
The parents of 8-month old Amjad Aalawayn came to the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre in Zahle in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon on Wednesday 3 April looking for help for their sick baby. The family were Syrian refugees, fleeing the fighting in their country. The baby was pale, listless and had no appetite.
They came to Caritas after one hospital had refused to admit Amjad because of money issues. A Caritas social worker contacted a paediatrician to transfer him to a hospital, but sadly he passed away while waiting for medical assistance.
Our social worker contacted the hospital where he was transferred, whereby they confirmed the death of 8-month old Amjad. No cause of death was declared as was dead on arrival. May this angel’s soul rest in peace, a peace he certainly didn’t find in here.
Many sick children have been referred to Caritas from the same […]
By Jos de Vogd, CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands)
After two years of fighting in Syria, the flow of refugees into neighbouring Lebanon is increasing the pressure on this small country by the day. According to recent government figures, more than a million Syrians are now in Lebanon. And every week more than 10,000 more displaced people, all looking for accommodation, are adding to the problem because there are no official refugee camps there.
The numbers include refugees registered or waiting to be registered with the UN refuge agency UNHCR. But they also include people who are either not willing to register as well as seasonal workers who didn’t return to Syria because of the civil war, instead persuading their families to join them in Lebanon. Also included are Palestinian refugees from Syria and Lebanon who were permanently living in Syria. At the moment, one in five people in Lebanon come from Syria.
More than a million Syrian refugees have fled the conflict in their country. Half of them have gone to Jordan, where they mostly live side by side with Jordanians in towns and cities. They arrive with nothing, often suffering from trauma and health problems.
Caritas members around the world are supporting Caritas Jordan to provide them with humanitarian aid like blankets, heaters, fuel, food and hygiene kits, as well as medical care, housing support, informal education and counselling for trauma. So far Caritas Jordan has registered 75,000 individuals for its assistance.