As violence escalates in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, neighboring countries are facing a growing refugee crisis. Few media outlets have access to the conflict zones, and citizen footage is infrequent in regions with low internet and video phone penetration. Reports from human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies offer a rare and critical window into the growing political and humanitarian crises in central Africa and beyond.
Here are highlights from recently featured videos on the channel:
Central African Republic:
From a small Cameroonian border town, Médecins Sans Frontières reports on thousands of Central African Republic civilians who have fled violence in their country. Doctors treat refugees who walked hundreds of miles with infected sores, children with bullet wounds, and people injured during their long exodus from home. Between 250,000 and 290,000 people are reported to have fled the Central African Republic, and according to the UNHCR, more than half of the country’s population is in need of humanitarian aid.
As regional leaders gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss peace in South Sudan, the government cracked down on journalists reporting on the conflict. An estimated 10 to 20 thousand people have been reported killed in the past three months, and one goal of the peace talks was to pressure warring parties to allow humanitarian assistance into the country. In this short video taken at a field hospital in South Sudan, a surgeon with the International Committee of the Red Cross explains how the ongoing violence keeps wounded civilians from getting to the clinic in time to address their medical needs. One woman, she describes, lost her arm after she hid in the bush for two weeks while an infection advanced through her body. UN assistant secretary-general Toby Lanzer posted this short, raw clip, showing elders in an overcrowded IDP camp in Malakal. Other victims of South Sudan’s conflict have fled to Uganda. In this report by Plan International, an emergency response worker at Baratuku refugee camp says his main concerns are for children missing out on their education, and the risk of disease when rain begins to flood the low-laying settlement areas.
This week, we’re keeping our eyes on:
Sri Lanka, where last week authorities arrested activist Balendran Jeyakumari and her 13-year-old daughter Balendran Vithushaini. Both are outspoken activists against forced disappearances, and can be seen in this video holding a photo of Jeyakumari’s son, who vanished while in state custody. Authorities have released the daughter, but detained other prominent activists, causing several international organizations and the U.S. State Department to condemn the crackdown on human rights defenders.