VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
This Week's Voices: Congo, 'a fragile state, not a failed state'
March 2, 2012 by The IRC
|IRC regional director in Congo, Ciaran Donnelly (second from left), joins IRC colleagues and residents of Nkanga Village, South Kivu Province, to celebrate a water system the community built with the IRC's support. Photo: Sinziana Demian/IRC|
International Rescue Committee regional director Ciaran Donnelly on the slow but significant progress being made in the "extremely fragile" Democratic Republic of Congo ... plus, other notable quotes touching on the IRC's work around the world:
"It is important that we recognize the enormous challenges Congo faces today, but I do not see that this country, which is the size of Western Europe and has a population in excess of 70 million, is engulfed in conflict or in a humanitarian crisis as it is often portrayed. Yes, this was the case for a long time, and yes, there are huge problems in certain parts of the country. In the east, where conflict is ongoing and where civilians continue to suffer at the hands of various armed actors, there is still a significant humanitarian crisis. But this is not the main story of Congo today. We can talk about an extremely fragile state but not about a failed state. The country is slowly moving in the right direction, with the state gradually able to carry out its core functions. That said, there is a very long way to go."
- Ciaran Donnelly, the IRC’s regional director in Congo for the past three years, in a Q&A about the realities on the ground, the importance of recent general elections, and the IRC’s work—past, present and future.
"What many people don’t realize is that [child trafficking] is happening in places we see on a regular basis, like small coffee shops and construction sites we drive by. It’s hidden in plain sight.”
- Kathleen Morris, who leads the IRC’s anti-trafficking programs in Seattle, Washington. She was quoted in a recent Redbook magazine article that suggests ways readers can help the estimated 5.7 million children who are forced to work in factories, fields, and brothels all over the world.
"Thanks to nearly two decades of enormously hard work by the IRC and its partners (and the refugee staff themselves) these camps are run with a dignity, precision, and thoroughness that would be the envy of any small town."
- Sarah Wayne Callies, actesss and IRC Voice, who has just returned from visiting Thai camps on the border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, where the IRC assists Burmese refugees.
"With overcrowding and insecurity making the Dadaab refugee camps an increasingly unattractive alternative, a growing number of those who have fled the double calamity of conflict and famine in Somalia prefer to brave the uncertainties of Nairobi and other cities."
- Sir John Holmes, IRC-UK Trustee, writing in AlertNet. He warns that Kenya’s war and security crackdown against al-Shabaab could have serious repercussions for Somali refugees in the country.
"When we invest in displaced women and girls, we are also making a long-term investment in peace and stability when conflict ends."
- Sarah Costa, executive director of the IRC-affiliated Women's Refugee Commission
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