The Domiz refugee camp in northern Iraq hosts almost 40,000 refugees from Syria. Domiz is a dense camp full of tents and people everywhere. I visit the camp every day to familiarize myself with the many UNICEF-supported activities. This week, while visiting the child-friendly space, I met the wonderful volunteers and staff who are organizing recreational and social activities for children.
Tag Archives for "Iraq"
Sally Fay Cottingham is a member of the Board of Directors for The U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s New England regional office.
Anne Garrels, world-renowned foreign correspondent for NPR’s foreign desk, spoke at the Women’s Luncheon Series held in the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Boston office late last month.
“I have had enough of wars,” she told the audience. “The goal (of war) is to destroy one’s sense of self.”
Garrels told one compelling story after another, including the story of the women who, when asked what she would like Anne to bring her, asked for “a pot of crÃ¨me”, something that she could put on her face to remember that she was a woman.
|© Roger Farrington/2010|
|Left to right: NE board chair Kaia Miller, Anne Garrels, NE board member Caterina Bandini|
Garrels spoke about Iraq and the U.S. involvement there. She described how the Americans mismanaged money and were unprepared when they arrived. Speaking on the effects of the war on Iraqi women and families, she observed that the sectarian divides affected women the most. “This destroyed the family structure. They had to move–all those mixed marriages because there was so much tension around them. The middle class was depleted and moved away to Syria and Jordan.”
Anne spoke passionately of Pakistan, calling it “the key place” to be right now. She said the country is close to being in a civil war. “We should have done so much more for decades,” she said, particularly in the area of the educational system. Garrels noted that illiteracy in Pakistan is much worse than India. Primary education is always “informal,” which typically means “an ill-trained woman on a dirt floor, with no water.” She warned that “you’ve got more and more angry, frustrated Pakistanis. Healthcare getting worse, not better.”
She told us that there was an advantage to being a female journalist in Pakistan because she was allowed “to walk both sides of the street.”
“I can see the Presidents, local authorities, and I can go into the houses, maternity wards, boys’ and girls’ schools, and men can’t. Male colleagues who want to do these stories, can’t.”
In April, we shared a couple of Fieldnotes entries about the devastation of landmines and cluster munitions, and UNICEF’s work to help keep children safe from landmines (remember the “magic cricket“?)
In mine-affected communities, children’s everyday activities can have a sudden end. UNICEF recognizes that the only way to put an end to these indiscriminate weapons is to ban them outright. In that spirit, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is a long-time member of the U.S. Coalition to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions (www.uscbl.org), advocating for the United States to ratify the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and the 2008 Cluster Munitions Convention.
On May 18, the movement toward U.S. ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty took an big step forward. A letter written by mine ban champion Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) went to President Obama, asking him to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty – signed by 68 Senators including ten Republicans and two Independents, signifying a key two-thirds Senate majority in favor of ratification. Sixty-eight is a special number because it represents the Senate two-thirds majority needed for ratification if the Administration sends the treaty to the Senate for consent.
Jenner Pascua is a production officer for unicefusa.org
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, I’m reminded of 350.org – one of the featured organizations on UNICEF’s uniteforclimate.org. The number 350 refers to the goal of reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere from 387 parts per million to the safe level of 350.
This week’s video looks back at “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history,” according to CNN – the International Global Climate Action Day on October 29, 2009. On that day there were 5,200 actions in 181 countries, but just one single actor in Babylon, Iraq.
She joined the climate control discussion with a simple picture, and inspired thousands. The video shows how one person can make an impact, and encourages viewers to take action this year by joining the global work party on 10/10/10.
UNICEF has been involved with the discussion on climate control for some time now. In 2007, UNICEF released a report entitled Climate Change and Children, which expressed concerns on how the effects of climate change can impact the lives of children in developing countries.
Last December, UNICEF Denmark organized the Children’s Climate Forum in conjunction with the COP15. Allowing young delegates from around the world to voice their thoughts and concerns, and present them to world leaders attending the COP15.
Join the discussion and learn how to get involved, visit www.uniteforclimate.org.
This week’s Monday photo comes from the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.
It’s a photo from Al-Tanf refugee camp, which has closed – we hope – for good. Established in 2006, when hundreds of Palestinian refugees fleeing persecution in Iraq were prevented from crossing into Syria, the border camp was never meant to be a home. But that’s what the strip of desert sandwiched between a busy highway and a wall became.
|A young boy helps pack up the last of the belongings of the Al-Tanf refugees.|
UNICEF supported the children of Al-Tanf camp with recreational materials and counselling. The residents of Al-Tanf join about 2,000 other Palestinian refugees in camps inside Syria and in Iraq, according to UNHCR.
It’s pretty amazing how little Iraq is in the news these days. After all, there are still approximately 130,000 American troops in the country, (though between 35,000 and 50,000 troops are expected to pull out of Iraq by August). And there are still bombings every week that kill innocent Iraqis, including children.
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