ISSN 1710-6931 May 13, 2005 Issue 47
FEATURE ARTICLES

Pen-pals Bridge Gap to Nigerian IDPs Camps

Francis Abayomi, a graduate student in civil engineering at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Nigeria, is Country Coordinator for RESPECT Nigeria. He is actively involved in refugees’ education and their overall welfare, living in IDP Camps in Nigeria. He has been coordinating letter exchange programs between refugees and non-refugee students, and is responsible for other awareness programs of RESPECT Nigeria. Here are excerpts of an interview with him.


Dr. Raza: How did you get involved with RESPECT International?

Mr. Abayomi: I got involved with RESPECT International through a friend (Muyiwa Oke) who introduced the program to me and after finding out about what RESPECT is all about, I joined and got involved more having the mind to contribute selfless service to humanity. more>>


A Blessing of Books

The Oru refugee camp is in southwest Nigeria, about 250 miles southwest of the capital, Abuja. The situation at the Oru refugee primary school is difficult. There are about 400 students who attend the school. They have six classrooms in the school and don't have enough chairs, tables, and books for the students to use.

RESPECT Nigeria started an effort to collect books for the children at the Oru refugee school. Madhuri Yechuri recently joined RESPECT Nigeria as a volunteer and is currently helping with this effort. more>>


Volunteer Work Goes on at Oru Refugee Camp

The Oru Refugee Camp came into being during the outbreak of the Liberian Civil War, and is now home for people from a range of countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, the Ivory Coast and the Congo. Mikado Wayko, a RESPECT volunteer at the camp, is just one of the many Liberians living and working there. more>>


Asylum Seekers' Status Undetermined

HUNDREDS of asylum seekers fleeing the war in the Darfur region of Sudan have begun arriving in Ghana, creating a humanitarian problem for refugee agencies in the country.

The police, on Tuesday, 19 April 2005, conveyed the first batch of 180 arrivals to the premises of the Bureau of Ghana Languages (BGL) in Accra. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) have both declined responsibility for their welfare "until their status has been determined."

The asylum seekers are fleeing the war-torn western region of Darfur currently under siege from the government-backed Janjaweed Militia.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

First Book Shipment Sent

The first of several planned shipments of books has been sent to the Oru refugee camp in Nigeria. The books will be used to set up a lending library for students and other camp residents.

The following volunteers helped arrange for books, sort the books, and pay for shipping costs:

  • Vinay Yadappanavar
  • Smita Shrivastava
  • Karen Bobonich
  • Subhashini Parasuraman
  • Vasudha Krishnaswamy
  • Shuba Swaminathan
  • Murali Murugesan
  • Venky Radhakrishnan

OPINION

Elements of Terrorism Can Be Groomed At Early Age*

The recruitment of child soldiers around the world can be a breeding ground for terrorism. Whilst children are in themselves terrorized by violence, they continue to be dangerous to the lives of others when conscripted as child soldiers, and forced to even turn their guns against their very parents, families and friends upon whose survival their welfare once depended. The use of children in armed conflict will belie the good intention of a very important instrument adopted ten years ago; the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in which the UN Secretary General remarked: "we have no higher priority, no prouder achievement, than our work for the rights of children!"

I remembered that my country was locked in the quizzical position of beauty, wealth, brutality and poverty, which existed side by side in a decade of war that has now completely ended. The sustained peaceful pace and democracy in Sierra Leone today has ushered in a new glimmer of hope to stop the drafting of children into soldiers. It is my wish that this will be a shiny example in other dozens of countries around the globe today, where children have become direct participants in warfare often to the chagrin of well meaning citizens around the world. more>>

*The views expressed are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily express the views of RESPECT International, nor the staff of the RESPECT e-Zine.

As in any newsletter or magazine, RESPECT e-zine is committed to striving for interesting articles and announcements concerning refugee issues all around the world.

If you have any suggestions or would like to contribute an article, contact the e-Zine editor, Will Wallace at editor@respectrefugees.org.

To be removed from our mailing list, please complete the online form at: subscriptions.respectrefugees.org.