Highlights - April to June 2016

Sudan's forgotten front
Alex Pritz/Documentist/IRIN

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Senior UN human rights official Anders Kompass' exclusive commentary on why he resigned from the UN becomes IRIN's most read piece since January 2015
  • IRIN's new investigative unit, spearheaded by co-founder and former CEO Ben Parker, begins to publish investigations
  • IRIN reports live from the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul

FIVE MOST POPULAR

1. Exclusive: The ethical failure – Why I resigned from the UN: In an exclusive commentary, the UN official who exposed the sexual abuse of children by French and African peacekeepers in Central African Republic in 2014 details the reasons for his resignation for his top post. When the UN failed to act on the allegations, Anders Kompass denounced the abuse to the French government. Instead of pursuing the perpetrators, the UN appears to have been more interested in hiding the scandal and hounding Kompass himself.

"The UN’s accountability system is broken. It simply doesn’t work." - Anders Kompass

2. Exclusive: Top UN whistleblower resigns, citing impunity and lack of accountability: Ahead of the personal account above, IRIN announces Anders Kompass' resignation in an exclusive news report that was cited by AFP, The Guardian, The Telegraph, the BBC, the New York Times, Le Monde, and UN Watch among others. US Republican Senator Bob Corker, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, called Kompass’s resignation “a damning indictment of the leadership at the United Nations that has failed to end the horrific sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and protect those who report wrongdoing.”

3. MSF pulls out of World Humanitarian Summit: Ahead of the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, with 6,000 people expected to attend, IRIN breaks the news that a prominent participant is dropping out. "We no longer have any hope that the WHS will address the weaknesses in humanitarian action," Doctors Withour Borders, or MSF, announces, placing doubt on the summit's ability to bring about positive change before it had even started.

4. US probe into Turkey-Syria aid corruption deepens: IRIN's new investigative unit reveals in a special report that a probe by a US government watchdog into corruption in aid delivery across the Turkey-Syria border runs deeper and involves more NGOs than previously thought, undermining vital cross-border relief for desperate Syrians.

5. The World Humanitarian Summit: winners and losers: As the Secretary-General of the United Nations announces more than 1,500 commitments emerging from the World Humanitarian Summit, IRIN makes sense of the bewildering set of roundtables, panel discussions and announcements by synthesizing what was - and wasn't - agreed.

IRIN was highly praised for its coverage of the World Humanitarian Summit by governmental officials and aid workers alike. Other coverage included a look into the Grand Bargain agreement, a focus on the #ReShapeAid movement for small NGOs and private companies, a Q&A with International Committee of the Red Cross President Peter Maurer, a live blog and a Storify with Twitter highlights.

SPECIAL & MULTIMEDIA REPORTS

Between April to June, 22 percent of IRIN's reports contain multimedia content, such as slideshows, graphs, films or timelines:

Particularly popular was IRIN's latest addition to its Forgotten Conflicts series. Through films, photos, an interactive timeline and infographic, "Blue Nile - Sudan's Forgotten Front" is an in-depth examination of one of the world's most neglected and under-reported humanitarian crises, told through the testimonies of civilians, soldiers and smugglers. “Find the time to read this incredible multimedia piece on a forgotten conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile State,” wrote the Washington Post’s Max Bearak. 

In "Syrians trapped in desert no man's land", IRIN reports from "the berm", a slice of desert on the Syrian and Jordanian border where 60,000 Syrian refugees are trapped in makeshift camps, accessed by very few journalists. Unless a solution to the conflict is found, "it will be a permanent service area", said a humanitarian source. "These people will be left in the desert." 

The report traveled far and wide on social media, shared, among others by artist Ai Wei Wei and the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth.

In "A long way home", IRIN tracks down Syrian refugees in unexpected places, from Sudan to Mauritania. "If I had stayed [in Syria], I would have been forced to join the war or die. I just want a peaceful life,” said Eyad Abuharb, a 26-year-old former head chef who arrived in Brazil nearly two years ago. While Abuharb has settled and now runs his own kebab restaurant in Sao Paulo, Mouna Khalil and her family have had to make do in Mali since 2013. “Mali is a poor country. There is nothing here, no life." 

REACH

From April to June, IRIN's stories were shared on social media by Peter Maurer (President, ICRC), Kenneth Roth (Executive Director, Human Rights Watch), Dr. Joanne Liu (International President, MSF), Duncan Green (Senior Strategic Adviser, Oxfam), Mia Farrow (actress), Ai Wei Wei (artist and activist), USAID, the Refugees Studies Centre, Action Against Hunger, AJStream, the Crisis Group, and more. 

IRIN's content potentially reached more than 24 million people through Twitter and Facebook impressions. These months also saw an average of 235,000 visitors to our website.

TWITTER GROWTH

  • Followers on Twitter have grown to 59,400, an increase of 27 percent from end of June 2015.
  • From April to June, IRIN saw close to 3.5 million impressions, 53,000 engagements and 2,600 new followers - more than 28 per day.

FACEBOOK GROWTH

  • At more than 31,600, followers on Facebook are up 29 percent from end of June 2015.
  • IRIN’s Facebook reach has grown by 10 percent from an average of 7,200 people per post in April to June 2015 to 7,900 in the same period in 2016.

 

OUTREACH AND PARTNERSHIPS

  • IRIN struck two new partnerships to complement its existing donor base, including a three-year agreement with the Swiss Lottery (Loterie Romande) to support the transfer of its operations to its new headquarters in Geneva
  • IRIN appointed former Managing Editor Heba Aly as its Director, taking over the leadership from IRIN co-founder Ben Parker who will lead a new enterprise unit
  • The UK Parliament referenced written evidence by IRIN's Heba Aly to its Global Humanitarian System inquiry in the report "The World Humanitarian Summit: priorities for reform". 
  • IRIN articles were republished and/or cited by, among others, the New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, AFP, UN Watch, the BBC, the Geneva International Newsletter, PreventionWeb, the Mail & Guardian Africa, UNOCHA, Human Rights Watch, IOM, Foreign Policy, Amnesty International, the World Humanitarian Summit, ACAPS, Le Temps and Bloomberg.
  • IRIN editors and journalists moderated and took part in a number of panel discussions, including at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Interaction Forum in Washington, and Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford. They were also interviewed by the BBC World Service, Canada’s National Post Radio, and the UK’s Radio Five Live. IRIN's Director spoke to communications students at John Carroll University in the United States about how IRIN's journalism impacts international policy.

Eve de la Mothe Karoubi/UNSDSN
IRIN Director Heba Aly (far left) moderating the World Humanitarian Summit session: "Making the SDGs work for Humanitarian Needs"

IMPACT

  • IRIN reports appear to have inspired mainstream media coverage of “the berm”, the demilitarised strip of desert on the Syrian and Jordanian border where refugees are being held in makeshift camps; the murder of albinos in Malawi; Syrian refugees resettling in Mali; and the failure of aid agencies to respond to the crisis in Fallujah as an early warning for Mosul.
  • IRIN’s report on Eritreans being deported from Sudan to likely abuse prompted a petition and report by Human Rights Watch, and a report on the murder of albinos in Malawi was followed by a petition and report by Amnesty International.
  • The famous contemporary artist and activist Ai Wei Wei will be producing artwork for an Amnesty International campaign using an IRIN image as a reference point.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recommended IRIN's WHS coverage to its mailing list, saying: “For excellent coverage of ... the Summit more generally, we have found IRIN’s in-depth coverage of the Summit a valuable and useful resource.” 

LANGUAGE SERVICE

From April to June, IRIN published 142 reports in English and translated 66 into Arabic and 47 into French. The award-winning Bahraini newspaper Al Wasat as well as the pan-Arab newspaper Al Arab republished IRIN articles.

PRODUCTION BY THEME, REGION & FORMAT

Thank you to our donors: the Loterie Romande, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Stichting Vluchteling and the United Nations Foundation; and to our partner the Overseas Development Institute.