Since the Syrian army launched an offensive starting late last week (when the ceasefire ended), dozens of airstrikes have hit the rebel-held city of Aleppo city in Syria. Last night, airstrikes were particularly devastating.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday that a series of strikes killed 237 people—and that’s including 38 children. Experts suggest that 162 were east Aleppo and so far, around 400 people have died total in the past week.
Rescue efforts are being held up because all of the bombing has made the roads impassable and much of the rescue equipment has been destroyed in the same way. Discuss
2017 could see a significant increase in the number of refugees that are welcomed to the United States. Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress this week that the White House plans to bring 110,000 refugees from around the world into the country next year. That’s a 57% increase since 2015.
The refugees will be from various countries, and are some of the most vulnerable individuals in the world. Many have fled violence, poverty, instability and religious persecution, and have been selected by the U.S. because they are in dire need of safe places to live. Discuss
The organization George Clooney co-founded, The Sentry, released the findings of a two-year, undercover investigation into the war profiteering of South Sudan's government leaders. The results are shocking.
Sentry is an organization based out of the Enough Project and Not on Our Watch and its mission is to "disrupt and dismantle the networks of military officers, government officials, businessmen, arms dealers, bankers and other enablers who benefit financially and politically from Africa’s deadliest conflicts,” according to its website.
The organization found that the government officials have gained massive personal fortunes from arms deals, oil and gambling to fuel one of the world's deadliest conflicts that has been happening since 2013 andhas left tens of thousands dead and almost half the country with food insecurity. Millions have been displaced.
In a Washington Post op-ed, George Clooney and Sentry partner John Prendergast explained that some cases, leaders appear to be intentionally blocking aid so that the war will continue, and they will get richer.
[Leaders] have agreed to international humanitarian aid, but their forces obstruct the aid agencies at every turn and even attack, rob and rape aid workers ... All of this obstruction and obfuscation buys time for the leaders to continue to use extreme violence to loot the state treasury and the country’s natural resources.
In some cases, they say that leaders committed “outright fraud” and conducted unethical business deals.
The Sentry found that a number of [South Sudanese President Salva Kii’s] relatives are involved in a wide range of business ventures … The Sentry found that even Kiir’s 12-year-old son held a 25 percent stake in a holding company formed just a few months ago. Several of his children have held stakes in banks, some while they were teenagers
Don Cheadle, who co-founded Not on Our Watch, said:
These families of several top officials we examined live in million-dollar mansions outside of the country. They post videos partying in hotels, driving around in luxury cars while the rest of the people in their country suffer consequences of a brutal civil war and in many places experience near famine conditions.
The report highlights how the leaders have accumulated wealth in properties outside of the country, cars and other businesses.
The author's report, J.R. Mailey, said, “In some cases we would be able to confirm that certain people are in a house that we already suspected because they post a bunch of pictures next to a really beautiful pool.”
Clooney told journalists:
Investigate us. But don't take our word for it. Investigate it yourself. Look at the information with an open mind.
The release of the report and the earlier press conference comes before a meeting at the White House today with President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. Discuss
Just days after a temporary cease-fire was announced among factions in the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has made a grim announcement about the country’s long-running civil war. According to the group, since 2011 when fighting began, 301,781 people have been killed. Out of those, 86,000 were civilians. More than 15,000 were children.
The fighting has displaced millions, causing an international refugee crisis. And since fighting began, there have been widespread reports of human rights violations. Discuss
The United Nations Children's Fund has just released an alarming new report that found that there are currently more than 50 million children who have been driven from their homes by global instability and violence.
According to their findings, 11 million are either refugees or asylum-seekers forced to flee their homes because of violence, terrorism or instability. Many are from Syria and Afghanistan. At least 20 million others have fled because of natural disasters, poverty or climate change. 17 million more have been displaced within their own country, as violent conflicts and the spread of ISIS plagues many countries across the Middle East.
Heartbreakingly, many children are fleeing on their own. The report says that 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum last year alone.
Migrant children and women, especially those without documentation, are vulnerable to trafficking, abuse and exploitation. In transit and destination countries, migrants and their families often find themselves victims of discrimination, poverty and social marginalization … UNICEF is working on the ground to ensure that programs and policies in response to this crisis put the rights and needs of all children first.
The New York Times has posted a startling report on just how difficult life has become for many Christians living in Egypt. Despite the insistence from officials within the Muslim government that “everything is good” in regards to relations between Muslims and Christians (who make up just 10 percent of the overall population), Christian leaders paint a very different picture.
The article contains some disturbing stories of homes being burned, Christians being attacked and murdered and churches being vandalized. In one incident, described as a turning point, “An older Christian woman was stripped naked by a mob, which had been incited by reports that the woman’s son was having an affair with a Muslim.” Christian leaders denied the claim was even true.
In many cases, police and law enforcement have done little to stop the violence or punish those responsible.
A local Christian leader told the paper, “We are at a breaking point. People can’t put up with any more of this.”
Leaders within the government, including the imam in charge of keeping the peace between the two communities, are flatly denying that the persecution even exist. He told the NYT: “There’s no conflict. The problem is really with the journalists writing about it.” Discuss