A reality show far worse than “Mission” !

29 Ago

There are things that happen and that even large NGOs hide and probably impose silence on news media but then luckily there are journalists who love their work and have the courage to report the loss and even after some time, we come to knowledge of a serious matter like this.

Immagine

Mean time  Italian humanitarian workers and public opinion are engaged in a very hot debate on thetelevision series Mission promoted by Italian Public TV: RAI, UNHCR Italy and the NGOIntersos, defined byEugenioMelandriHumanitarian Pornography,” a reality showmuch worseithasconsumed on 4th  August 2013at therefugee camp of Mole, 35 km from the town ofZongo, Equateur province, Congo.

This time the protagonistsare notPaolaBaraleandEmmanueleFilippoDi Savoiawhoshota week beforethe second episodeof Missionat therefugee camp of  Duruma (DRC) thanks to theagencyDinamoSrl(tengaged by  RAI to filmMission)  logistical assistance ofIntersosunder the supervisionof two representatives fromUNHCRItalyusingshortcutsbureaucraticwidelyillustrated by somenews websitesincludingAfrican Voices.

At their placethere arelesser-known but more real people: some hundreds ofCentral African refugees, international NGOs, UNHCR andtheCongolese policeofficers.

On the morning ofAugust 4, 2013a few hundredCentral African refugees leaving in Mole camp, have launcheda protest against thequality and quantityof food servedby theNGOspartnerof the High Commissionerfor RefugeesUNHCR.

According to refugees, UNHCR and international NGOs have imposed on them a diet that does not match their eating habits. In addition, the rations are deemed insufficient.

At their placethere arelesser-known but more real people: some hundreds ofCentral African refugees, international NGOs, UNHCR andtheCongolese policeofficers.


On the morning ofAugust 4, 2013a few hundredCentral African refugees leaving in Mole camp, have launcheda protest against thequality and quantityof food servedby theNGOspartnerof the High Commissionerfor RefugeesUNHCR.

According to refugees, UNHCR and international NGOs have imposed on them a diet that does not match their eating habits. In addition, the rations are deemed insufficient.


The protest committee has asked UNHCR to vary the food introducing rice and tomato paste. They also requested to receive a sum of money equivalent  to five US dollars daily per person to buy foodstuffs that are not provided in the distribution such as: spicy condiments denominated in Swahili “pili pili”, powdered milk for children, tea and instant coffee.

 The unwilling shows by the NGOs to listen the refugees grievances and to verify the possibilityto varythediet, has made the protesters more hungry and a dozen of tends have been burned. Only the interventionof the Congolese policehas managed tocalm the situation.

The protestand denialof humanitarian workersto listen to therefugees, are factors thatshows a strong discomfortand conflict. This constitutesa seriousaccidentto think about.Concerns about themanagement of therefugee campMoleincreasedwhen theCongolese policein the following days haveinterviewedsixteenCentral African refugeesidentified asthe promoters of theprotest.The leaders of the protest, according to our sourcesofinformation, have been victims of serious intimidationsaimedto preventing furtherprotests and force them to anunconditionalacceptanceof humanitarian assistance.There is noevidence to showthat the initiativeof the Congolese policehas been requestedby the NGOs in charge of the management ofthe refugee campasthereare no reports ofan official protestbyUNHCRagainst the policeintimidationdirected attheCongoleserefugees.

The protestcampMoleis notan isolated case.InJune 2013, around 1,600 families ofCentral African refugees regrouped  at the locationsofBaye, NduandNzere(500 kilometersfrom Kisangani, Oriental Province, Congo)have refused tomove into thecamp set upbyUNHCRin the territory ofAngo. Thereasons fortheir rejection are linked with serious doubts abouttheir safety.In the areachosen forthe camp in the latest months has beenrecordedthe presence ofLRA Ugandan rebels, of banditscalled “Ouda” andpoachers.
Thousands ofCentral Africanshave fled toCongoin 2012due to thefall of the regimeof FrançoisBozizéandthe coming to powerof the rebellionSéléka.

Doubts about a properrefugees assistance  fromthe Congolese authoritiesandUNHCRare not limitedtothose from theCentral African Republic. During the celebrationof refugee day(20June 2013)variouscomplaints have been raised fromrefugeesin the Congoabout thedeplorable conditionsand precariouslifein the camps.

Worstseems to be thefate of the Congolese IDPs. More than sixtythousandCongolesewho livein the areaofKamango, in the district ofBeni,North Kivu, afterfleeingthe fightingin mid-Julybetweenregular Congolese armyandUgandan rebelsof theADFare not receivinganyhumanitarian assistanceand are forced tolive in the forest, according to the complaintmade​​to RadioOkapiby the Member of ParlamentAlbertBaliesimaKadukima: The humanitarian situation isprecarious.Part of the populationof the town ofWatalingaand the city ofKamangoisheld hostage byrebels of theADF, “says the MP urging Government and donorsto givetoKamangothe sameattention given toGoma.

The news fromthe Democratic Republic ofCongodo not seem tofind muchinformation spacespmthe Western mediadespitethat highlightthe limitsachievedin the managementof humanitarian crises, source of a colossalbusinessof billions ofdollars par yearthathas led manyinternational NGOsto abandon theircommitment todevelopment projectsto jump on the profitablebandwagonemergency.

The currentcrisis managementis increasingconflict betweenbeneficiaries, NGOs andUN agenciesand the oppositionof large sectorsof African society, not least by the Directorof the Chamberof CommerceUganda: MikeNsereko.

Donor aid comes with strings attached and much of it ends up going back to the donating countries through payment of salaries for expatriates and procuring of essential inputs form the donating countries, leaving little benefits for the receipt country. Much of the aid assistance is direct to interventions that may not fall in to the country’s priorities, but rather the priorities of donating contries. Most important , aid dependency erodes national independency and sovereignty through unnecessary interference in the running of the receiving countries ” said Nserekoin an editorialappearedin the business sectionof theUgandannewspaperNew VisionofAugust 22titled:  We can do withouthumanitarian aid.”

In this situationwe should notwonder atthe riseof extreme forms ofmarketingaimed at increasingprivate andpublic donations, transforming the refugeeinto a marketable productsuch is a case of Italian Reality TVMission, regardless of no longercredibledefense arguments of its promoters.

Yetaway from the spotlightandwithout the interventionof VIP like AlBano,De RossiandDi Savoia, african Ngos are developinginitiatives  to disruptthe inhumanlogicof the refugee campsthat have becomemodernlager.

The last initiativein chronological ordercomes from theCongoleseNGOLubumbashiMJDD(Mouvement desjuenespour laDignitéet leDéveloppementYouth Movementfor Dignityand Development). TheNGO, funded also byUNHCR, is focusinghis assistance on theintegrationof refugeesin the cities ofKatanga.According to its presidentFellyMbenga, therealsolutionto the refugee problemisto solvethe conflictsthat generateemergencies.In the immediate future, waiting for the international communityand African countriesaccruea sense ofmutualcoexistence andcollective interest, Mbengafocuses on theintegration of refugeesinto the social and economic local reality, theonly solutionto ensurecoexistencebetween immigrants andthe local population.

The refugees live in inhuman conditionsandare transformedinto larvaedue to theeternal refugees situation.This is theproblem.We need to promotetheir active integration. At the marketthere arerefugeesZambians, Angolans,RCA refugees.At the marketevery one of us is Congolese“.

FellyMbengaoffers a valuableexampleof anotherway to promotehumanitarian aiddirected nottowards themad pursuitof fundsbutto the man, placing the refugeein the middleof the action andnoton the edge. It is up toNGOs, alsoItalians, to understandthis messageand implementa major transformationof their workto prevent the erosionof theircredibilityand thereforethe risk ofextinction

 

Fulvio Beltrami
Kampala, Uganda

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