IRIN’s Top Picks: Separation, compassion and re-shaping aid

Welcome to IRIN's weekly assortment of noteworthy humanitarian journalism and research, compiled by our editorial team.

Five to read:

From Somalia to Sweden: the refugee forced to live apart from his wife and child


This is the sad tale of Amin Amey, a Somali who spent his life trying to leave Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, but on doing so found himself separated from his new wife and child by law. “Being a Somali is like you are guilty of something,” notes Amey. Author Ben Rawlence, whose book, City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp will be published next year, paints a poignant picture of refugees’ daily struggles as well as the legal limbo into which many fall.

When photography campaigns for change

An interview with photographer Marcus Bleasdale, who was recently awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal from the Overseas Press Club for his coverage of the Central African Republic (CAR) for Human Rights Watch and National Geographic magazine. It is a fascinating reflection on how photo-journalism can be a campaign tool. It also asks important questions about the growing media influence of NGOs like Human Rights Watch.

Tikrit: Iraq’s Abandoned City

Iraqi lawyer and writer Zaid al-Ali presents a haunting portrait of the city of Tikrit, the former Baathist stronghold – and birthplace of Saddam Hussein – which was recently liberated from the clutches of militants calling themselves Islamic State (IS). Al-Ali, who has family ties to Tikrit, sheds light on the horrors of life under IS and the challenges the city now faces to restore and rebuild.

Secret Aid Worker: After years in the field, I worry I've lost my compassion

In an anonymous blog for the Guardian, a South Sudan-based aid worker writes about toll of being repeatedly exposed to human suffering and how it has killed some of the compassion that attracted him to the job in the first place. “It’s a dangerous path,” notes the blogger. “Because while it’s necessary for our work… to become used to the horrific, the emergencies, the situations that should never occur, where this road leads in the end is, of course, losing compassion entirely." A piece likely to strike a chord with many aid workers around the world.

World Humanitarian Summit Regional Consultation for Latin America and the Caribbean

This week it was the turn of UN agencies, NGOs, donor governments and local actors to come together for the World Humanitarian Summit Latin America and the Caribbean Consultation. The two-day event missed quite a few radars in Europe and the Middle East due to host city Guatemala’s timezone, but it was nonetheless an important discussion. Check out the stakeholder documentation to know more about the issues and discussions in the region, and what might make it onto the final agenda in Istanbul in 2016.

One to listen to:

Civil-military coordination in humanitarian protection

This podcast from the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University (HPCR) discusses the policy and operational challenges associated with civil-military engagement. Commentary from a range of experts including: Michael Marx, Senior Civil-Military Coordination Advisor for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); Mohammad Fayyazi, a humanitarian policy advisor for the UN’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Brigadier Ishtiaq Ahmed of Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA); and Al Shimkus, associate professor of national security at the US Naval War College.

One to watch:

Earthquake in Nepal

VICE news visits Bhaktapur, where the local Buddhist Federation is cleaning up the area in the absence of international aid actors. They also speak to Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times, about how Nepalis are responding to the earthquake's aftermath, and how they feel about the government's own response.

Coming up:

Internal displacement in Ukraine: Assessing the national response

May 15, 2015 -- 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EDT
Brookings Institution, Washington DC.

More than 1.2 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine. The Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement in collaboration with HIAS is hosting this event to discuss the Ukrainian government’s response to internal displacement and how the international community can support those efforts.

From IRIN:

No husband, no home: Migrant wives struggle in Nepal

Millions of Nepalese men work abroad to try to earn enough money for a better life for them and their families. Despite the remittances that come back, their wives often face a daily struggle to make ends meet, especially if they have taken on debts to buy a home. When the earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April, it shattered many of these fragile existences. Mallika Aryal looks at the plight of the migrant wives left to fend alone for themselves and their children in the aftermath of the disaster.

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