By Marina de Regt For years, humanitarian organisations in Jordan and Lebanon have been concerned about the increasing number of “child marriages” among Syrian refugees. While early marriages of girls (between 14-18 year) have also…
Door Peter Versteeg Het nieuwe jaar was nog tamelijk vers toen verontrustend nieuws bekend werd. Met oudejaarsnacht zouden vele tientallen vrouwen op het Keulse stationsplein zijn beroofd en aangerand. Het aantal aangiften van aanranding is boven de 500 gestegen, waaronder twee maal verkrachting. Verschillende keren stond ik op het punt om hier iets over te schrijven, maar ik werd steeds weerhouden door de gevoeligheid rond het onderwerp.
“We deeply regret that WFP has not yet received funds to reload your blue card for food for December 2014. We will inform you by SMS as soon as funding is received and we can resume food assistance”
The message was sent by the World Food Program (WFP), one of the UN agencies that has played a vital role in supporting refugees from Syria in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt. Hosting refugees “in the region” has been a key policy pursued by the Netherlands and other countries. Accordingly they seek to both provide aid in efficient manners and discourage refugees from seeking asylum inside, for instance, the European Union.
As refugees register in their respective host countries, they receive a special credit card (the ‘blue card’) that is charged monthly by the WFP with the amount of USD 30, enabling refugees to purchase basic food items in selected grocery stores. For many who own little more than the clothes they wore as they fled the brutalities of Syria’s war, this support has proved indispensable. Its suspension may therefore spur catastrophe.
By Erik van Ommering More than eighty people were killed in two bomb attacks on Aleppo’s university the day before yesterday. It was the first day of exams, yet countless non-students were identified among the victims—people who had sought refuge on campus, fleeing the brutal war between regime forces and armed opposition groups across Syria. Until now, Syria’s civil war has killed more than sixty thousand people, with vast material damage being inflicted and an estimated three million people being forced to flee their homes. Hostilities are likely to turn even more gruesome in the months ahead. Or is there anyone out there willing to halt the bloodshed?