Dadji is a young mother from PK 13 in Bangui. She fled the violence 3 years ago to Chad. Dadji and her children decided to return to Kaga Bandoro recently. They haven’t received any food assistance for four months now.

"When we arrived we were given food, but since then nothing. We are forced to fetch wood from the bush and sell it to get something to eat.

We need help. Where we are, we don't have a school or a hospital.
The international community has forgotten us. For four months we have not received any help.

I am afraid because we are not safe, even in this camp. All over the country, when we sleep at night, we are afraid." Dadji said.

Date: 10th February 2021
Location: Mbela camp - Kaga Bandoro
Photo: Tom Peyre-Costa/NRC

Vi behöver din hjälp för att stoppa negligerandet

Hur mycket vet du om omflyttningskriserna som drar fram genom Kamerun, Kongo-Kinshasa och Venezuela?

Om du inte är direkt drabbad av någon av dessa kriser tippar jag på att du inte vet mycket alls. Det är inte för att du inte bryr dig. Tvärtom! Du är en medkännande person som verkligen bryr dig om människor som har tvingats fly från sina hem. Det var därför du klickade på länken för att läsa den här artikeln. Anledningen till att du inte känner till dessa kriser är att ingen har berättat om dem för dig.

Vad är en omflyttningskris – och varför negligeras en del av dem?

En omflyttningskris uppstår när människor i stora antal ”flyttas om” från sina hem på grund av konflikter, katastrofer eller förföljelse. När det händer mobiliserar hjälporganisationer vanligtvis sina resurser för att hjälpa dem som har hamnat i nöd.

Men trots att humanitär hjälp ska ges utifrån behov, och endast behov, får en del kriser mer uppmärksamhet och stöd än andra. Allt handlar om en ond och komplicerad spiral, och den börjar med politisk vilja.

En del kriser är av mindre geo-politiskt intresse för världsledarna. Kanske inverkar inte de konflikter som orsakar omflyttningarna på säkerheten i de drabbade länderna i någon större utsträckning, och därför saknas motiven till att hjälpa.

Ta Burkina Faso som exempel. År 2018 spillde våldet i norra Mali över till Burkina Faso. Detta tände gnistor av osäkerhet i landet, vilka sedan spred sig vidare och uppslukade stora områden. Civila hamnade i korselden. Svälten ökade dramatisk och krisen i Burkina Faso blev den snabbast växande omflyttningskrisen 2019. Men eftersom majoriteten av dem som flydde inte korsade landets gränser fick krisen mycket lite internationell uppmärksamhet. Burkina Fasos invånare, som har fått se sina liv vändas upp och ner på mycket kort tid, lider i det tysta.

I andra konflikter är situationen den omvända: det finns många aktörer med olika politiska intressen och ingen är villig att kompromissa.

Kriströtthet

Sen finns det konflikter som har pågått en längre tid – så länge faktiskt att allmänheten har tröttnat på att höra om dem och har svårt att tro att något kan göras för att förändra situationen.

Kongo Kinshasa är ett bra exempel på detta. Redan under kolonialtiden presenterades ”Kongo” i populärkulturen som en våldsam plats – exemplifierat av Joseph Conrads klassiska roman från 1899, Mörkrets hjärta.

Nu, när våldet orsakar omfattande svält och omflyttningar i dagens Kongo Kinshasa, rycker omvärlden uppgivet på axlarna. Det finns inget driv för att få slut på krisen och som en konsekvens av den likgiltigheten lider människor svårt.

Slutligen har vi media. Avsaknaden av medial uppmärksamhet kan kopplas till hur mycket politisk uppmärksamhet en kris får. Om en kris ses som irrelevant av det internationella samfundet kommer media att vara mindre benägna att rapportera om den.

Ur syn, ur sinn

Vidare har vi aspekten med avstånd och tillgänglighet. Det är lägre sannolikhet att kriser på platser långt borta rapporteras än att problem utanför vår egen dörr uppmärksammas. Och när det gäller platser som är väldigt farliga och svåra att ta sig till är det ofta inte möjligt för journalister att få tag i den information och det material de behöver för att kunna rapportera om vad som händer.

Så är fallet för Kamerun. Organisationen Reportrar utan gränser, som arbetar för större yttrandefrihet, rankar landet som det 135:e av 180 länder i sin World Press Freedom Index (Världspressens frihetsindex). De rapporterar om frekventa häktningar av, och åtal mot, journalister. De rapporterar också om att internet ofta stängs av i vissa delar av landet. Få internationella journalister lyckas få tillgång till konfliktområdena.

“When the crisis started I was going to school and at the same time helping my mom with her business. But, the fighting made things tough, business was tight, it was hard. I continued to go to school but the boys would come and meet us in school and beat us, then drive us away from school and force us to go back to the house. I have been beaten not once, not twice, but many times by those boys. They don’t want us to go to school, to make a future for ourselves and the society. If we go, they will beat you up and attack your family. So, I had to stop school because my family was really in danger,” Kelly, 21 years old, tells us when we meet her in November 2019.

The boys are what the armed separatists are called locally in the North West province. In 2016, as English-speaking lawyers, students and teachers began protesting what they saw as their cultural marginalisation and under-representation in the central government, the Government forces hit back with a hard hand. Several armed separatist groups emerged and eventually declared independence 1. October 2017. They called their new country Ambazonia. 

Kelly lived in a big compound with her mom, dad, her siblings and extended family. Her parents ran a business and they had a farm.

“I had many people around me back then, but due to the crisis I have just a few left.”

On 11. February 2016, on the National Youth Day, clashes were intense in her village. The separatist did not recognise the youth day and put up the Ambazonia flag and the military retaliated. 

“The military came to our compound. The gate was closed, but they climbed the fence and entered. They shot at anybody they saw, they never cared to know who was who, they were just shooting. My younger sister and myself were hiding under a bed. My uncle was also there and they just entered the room and shot him, thinking he was one of those boys. They shot him right in front of me and my sister. After that, there was no way we could sleep in the house, so we fled to the bush and slept there. In the morning we came back and took my uncle to the morgue to prepare the funeral. That’s when my mom and my dad decided that we should look for another way for me to go to school, because staying in the village, doing nothing, will not help me so it’s better I leave”.

Three months later, at the age of 18, Kelly left her home to go to Yaoundé. She found a place to live and started to work to save up money to continue her education and slowly built a new life for herself over the next three years. She felt safe again. Then, everything changed. 

“I lost my dad 5. November. This month. I was not in the village when it happened, but they told me that he got up at night to ease himself. We do not have a toilet inside the compound so he had to go outside. Unfortunately, he was shot that night. He was taken to the hospital, but they could not save him.”

Every bullet victim is automatically investigated in the area, so the police came to talk to the family and her mother tried to answer all their questions. They found out it was the separatists, the boys, who had shot him. The situation was very intense in the village in that period. Kelly travelled from Yaoundé to the village for the funeral and then quickly returned to the capital due to the fighting. 

Two days after her dad was killed, another crisis hit the family. Kelly’s older sister got kidnapped by the boys. The kidnappers asked for 2,5 million francs in ransom for the group. The family tried to raise 500 000 francs. Kelly gave 50 000 francs that she had managed to save during her time in Yaoundé. These were the money she would use for her school fees, but instead she had to spend them to pay for her dad’s funeral and now her sister’s kidnapping. Together, the family managed to find money and her sister was released. 

“My sister was badly beaten. All her body; wounds, wounds, wounds. Fortunately, she was not raped, because those boys don’t sleep with girls who have their period. So, that was the only way she was saved from those guys. It was a miracle.”

After Kelly’s sister was released, she fled for safety to Bamenda, a bigger town in the area, where she is trying to attend some classes now and then. Kidnappings for ransom have become a regular thing in the province. Armed separatist groups have killed, tortured, assaulted, and kidnapped dozens of people, including students, teachers, clergy, and administrative and traditional authorities.

“I think the boys are kidnapping because they need money to purchase weapons,” Kelly states.

While her sister was still missing, Kelly received yet another call, this time from an unknown number, telling her she had to come back to the village for an emergency. They did not say what had happened, just that she had to come as fast as she could. Kelly was afraid she would lose her job if she left so soon after she had just been away for her dad’s funeral, but had to go and risk it. 

“As I entered the compound, everyone was crying. The first thing I asked was ‘Where is my mom?’ Everybody was crying in silence. They asked me to sit down, but I said ‘No, I don’t want to sit down, I want to see my mom.’ Then they told me that my mom had passed away. I had a shock. The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital. I spent two days there.”

“My mom was shot by those boys due to the investigation after my dad was killed. They know our house. They came inside our compound and asked for her. They shot her with four bullets to her body and left. No one else was shot. My mom was their main target. The boys were angry, because she spoke to the police. They don’t want us to have anything to do with the police.”

In less than a week, both Kelly’s parents had been killed. Her sister had been kidnapped. 

She did not feel safe. 

“At the funeral ground the boys kept looking at me. Just looking, looking, looking. I felt like I was going to be the next target. I had to leave the village, cause my life was in danger. It was a lot of gunshots. Everywhere. Everywhere! So, I managed to take the bush backroad and was lucky to find a taxi and I took it straight to Bamenda and then back here to Yaoundé. I told no one I was back. I just stayed inside for a week, mourning my mom and my dad. No school. No work. Just mourning them.”

In this period, she was also told to move out from the room she shared with a friend and this one’s sister who felt it had become too crowded. Now, Kelly needs to find a new place to rent, but with soaring housing process in the capital and her savings gone, it’s not an easy task. 

“I lost my dad. I lost my mom. My sister was kidnapped. So, all my savings are gone. I’m back to square one. Even to have a meal per day is difficult. I tried to get an advance from my boss. I tried to borrow money from friends so I can afford to move into a new place.”

Kelly now works in a school canteen five days a week. She leaves the house at 5am, works, comes back at 2pm. Rests for a little while, then goes to evening school until 9pm. At night she can seldom afford to eat, so she goes to bed and gets up again at 2am to study when the house is quiet. 

“I really need to go to school. Education is the key to life. Education is the highest thing. It was my parents’ dream for me, to go to school, to become something great in life that make you stand out in a population and talk like a woman. Even though they are no more, I have to work hard for myself and achieve my dreams.”

Kelly dreamt of becoming a lawyer, or a medical doctor, but now she is thinking accounting or management is more realistic. Or, play the American lottery and see if she can leave the country. 

“Even though it’s hard to lose two parents at the same time, it’s nothing I can do. All the things they used to do for me, I now need to do alone. It’s hell. But, this is what my fate has decided for me. I just need to move on with life.”

Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC
Läs bildtexten KAMERUN Båda Kellys* föräldrar sköts till döds. Hennes syster kidnappades. Hon vågar inte visa sitt ansikte på bild eller låta sitt namn publiceras, för den händelse hon också skulle bli utsatt. Detta är vanligt i Kamerun och medför att många av de grymheter som de oskyldiga civila utsätts för aldrig rapporteras av internationella media. Foto: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC Flyktinghjälpen

Men till slut är det upp till dig

Mediamaskineriet framställer innehåll som de tror att du vill läsa. I sunda demokratier svarar politiker när deras väljare är upprörda och kräver handling.

Så, ju mer du ser, hör och vet om dessa negligerade kriser, desto mer kommer politiker och media att sluta se förbi dem. Och det betyder i sin tur att fler människor känner till dem och därför bryr sig om dem. Vi måste bli upprörda över att miljontals människors lidande tillåts passera obemärkt förbi. 

En och en kan vi inte göra mycket. Men tillsammans kan vi bryta spiralen av negligering. 

NRC Flyktinghjälpen kommer inte att ignorera dessa kriser. Vi gensvarar på de mest negligerade kriserna i världen och hjälper människor i akut nöd.