Refugee team to compete in the Olympics: On June 3, the International Olympic Committee revealed that a team of 10 refugees will be participating and competing in the Rio Olympics Games in 2016 under the Olympic flag. The athletes are citizens of South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia – all of which are suffering from instability and insecurity. The selected participants will participate in a variety of sports, such as swimming, athletics – 800m, athletics – 400m, marathon, athletics – 1500m, judo – 70kg, and judo – 90kg.
The decision from the International Olympic Committee aims to showcase human resilience and that they are “an enrichment to society.” Each member has “athletic chops” as most of them either competed in their respective national teams or have qualified skills to be in national teams but couldn’t do so because of their refugee status.
The UN’s refugee agency (UNHRC) stressed the importance of this decision as it highlights and serves as a tribute “to the courage and perseverance of all refuges in overcoming adversity and building a better future for themselves and their families.” UNHCR also stresses that the initiative also sends a strong message of support to people being forced out of their homes by conflict and persecutions.
In the run-up to the Olympics, refugees have participated in the Olympics torch relay. One of its stops is a refugee camp in Greece.
Northeast Nigeria: This week, it was reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has re-united 23 families after they were separated by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. Three of the reconnecting family cases were cross-border: one from Chad and the other two from Cameroon. The ICRC expects to have more cross-border reunification cases in the future.
Reconnecting families is one of several services the Red Cross currently provides for those displaced by conflict in Nigeria. On Wednesday, June 8, the Red Cross released an appeal to meet the humanitarian needs of children in the Nigerian town of Damboa as they continue to suffer from malaria, measles, and malnutrition. ICRC also provides medical equipment and medicines to medical facilities in affected areas.
Another aspect of the work of the Red Cross is to supply agricultural inputs to over 20,000 returnee displaced families in Adamawa, Borno, and Gombe states. The returnees were also severely affected and forced out of their homes by Boko Haram. The inputs that they will receive are free bags of fertilizer, improved maize seedlings and herbicides since most of them are farmers.
Due to the long period of corruption, political instability, and insurgency with religious and regional divisions, northeast Nigeria has been deeply affected. This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from violence and has caused a huge humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad region.
The Nigerian Red Cross has extensively provided assistance to those in need, to learn more about their work, please click here.