Highlights - April to June 2017

It’s been – as ever – a busy few months at IRIN. We have launched several new streams of reporting and are investing in outreach and audience engagement in new ways. Our start-up office in Geneva has grown from two people just one year ago to a headquarters with six employees who support the work of our staff and freelance journalists around the world. We have produced some spectacular material recently, from a 360-degree video of life in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains to an investigation into the unintended consequences of the lobby for conflict-free minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We are humbled that our journalism continues to win awards and shape debates in international policy circles. And we have opened up our platform to online donations from our global community of readers who believe in the power of journalism. We look forward to hearing from you about our work and will be launching an audience survey later this year to get your feedback. In the meantime, you can reach us at [email protected]. Thank you, as always, for your interest, support and engagement in our efforts to put quality independent journalism at the service of the most vulnerable people on Earth.  

Heba Aly, 
Director of IRIN

What's new at IRIN?

Launch of Geneva-based policy reporting stream
In June, we launched a new stream of Geneva-based policy reporting led by IRIN’s Ben Parker and focused on the latest trends in humanitarian financing, the aid reform agenda, peace negotiations, and the massive machinery behind emergency relief delivery. This initiative is made possible with the support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Sarah Noble/IRIN
Participants at IRIN's breakfast meeting on the Grand Bargain

New in-depth militancy project
In April, IRIN launched a new stream of reporting on countering violent extremism in Nigeria and the Sahel. This reporting is made possible with the support of the Open Society Institute of West Africa. 

You can find all stories produced under this project on this in-depth page.

IRIN Director moderates panels at the World Economic Forum
Heba Aly moderated two panels at the World Economic Forum Middle East & North Africa Summit: a closed-door session with Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, on market-driven solutions to protracted crises, as well as a public event on social cohesion in the Arab world. 

IRIN hosts discussion on the Grand Bargain
One year after the World Humanitarian Summit, the big issue going into the UN Economic and Social Council’s Humanitarian Affairs Segment was a wide-ranging package of humanitarian aid reforms, known as the Grand Bargain. On 21 June, over coffee and croissants, IRIN hosted an informal curtain-raiser with thought-provoking opinions and expert analysis on what had – and hadn’t – been achieved in the reform process.

You can find IRIN’s reporting on aid effectiveness, including the follow-up to the World Humanitarian Summit and Grand Bargain agreement, here.

IRIN articles featured by Ai Weiwei
Several IRIN articles are featured in a project by Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei on the refugee crisis called “the Newsfeed”, part of his "Law of the Journey" exhibition. It highlights some of our coverage that inspired his work.   

Emmeline Booth/IRIN
IRIN articles featured in Ai Weiwei's "Law of the Journey" exhibition in Prague

IRIN welcomes new Director of Finance and Multimedia and Social Media Officer
IRIN is pleased to welcome two new members to its team: Richard Golding, Director of Finance and Kenneth Bañga Dimalibot, Multimedia and Social Media Officer (follow him on Twitter).

 

Awards

IRIN wins an Excellence in Video Reporting award from The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA)

Shot and produced by acclaimed German filmmaker Florian Kunert, this mini documentary powerfully captures the tough position Indonesian fishermen find themselves in and provides a stark warning about the human costs of destroying fishing habitats.

IRIN’s film on the prevalence of sexual assault in Kenya is shortlisted for the One World Media Women’s Rights in Africa Award

Shot and produced by IRIN Multimedia Editor Miranda Grant"Who in the world is Millie Wonder?" tells the inspiring story of a rape survivor who gives self-defence training to schoolgirls in a Nairobi slum.

IRIN wins an honourable mention from SOPA in its Excellence in Human Rights Reporting category
In the face of outright denials by Myanmar's government, IRIN Asia Editor Jared Ferrie uncovered strong evidence that the military was committing atrocities against the country's persecuted ethnic Rohingya Muslim community.

Read the feature: Myanmar says Rohingya rape and abuse allegations “made-up”, despite mounting evidence.

Jared Ferrie/IRIN
A Rohingya family sheltering in the village of Hazibara, Bangladesh, after fleeing Myanmar

Top Stories

South Sudan special

The South Sudanese government blocks journalists from reporting on a civil war that has created Africa’s largest refugee exodus, triggered a famine, and threatens to degenerate into all-out genocide. Journalist Jason Patinkin and videographer Simona Foltyn gained rare access to rebel-held Kajo Keji, as well as the sprawling refugee camps in northern Uganda. Their exclusive package provides unique insights into the bitter conflict, using text, video, and photographs to deliver powerful testimony of the ongoing human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings being committed. It also chronicles the spread of the conflict into the Equatoria region, a worrying new dimension.

Yemen coverage

On Yemen, IRIN has often been a lone voice in the international media, constantly flagging one of the world’s gravest humanitarian crises. Now, more than ever, as cholera grips the country and a looming offensive threatens the key port of Hodeida, it is important to get the word out, and IRIN Middle East Editor Annie Slemrod, working with local and international contributors, continues to do exactly that.

CAR coverage

If Yemen is neglected, then the Central African Republic is ignored. Regular IRIN contributor Philip Kleinfeld, however, is doing his best to remedy this, providing a steady stream of vivid reports from the ground as the situation rapidly disintegrates towards the awful levels of violence seen in 2013-14.

Philip Kleinfeld/IRIN
Fighters of the UPC militia in the Central African Republic town of Bambari. A split between factions of the Seleka rebel alliance led to a fresh surge of violence in mid 2017

Syria coverage

Regular contributor and Syria specialist Aron Lund, whose work is amongst our most read and complimented, and regularly republished by News Deeply and Utrikesmagasinet (Swedish "foreign policy magazine"), writes probing analysis of overlooked but important angles such as the neglected situation in Deir Ezzor, the Turkey-Kurd feud, and the complex battle lines being drawn between numerous international actors in eastern Syria.

The four famines

As the world slowly woke up to the prospect of four simultaneous famines affecting more than 20 million people in northern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen, IRIN took an in-depth look at their different origins, trajectories, and needs. We provided the latest information from the ground as well as expert analysis to explain how each country is prone to its own combination of flaring conflict, weak governance, poor infrastructure, and failing markets.

Alice Su/IRIN
Mundari cattle herders on the road in Terekeka in South Sudan’s Equatoria region

Besieged:  A 360º experience in Sudan's Nuba Mountains

Immerse yourself on the front line of a forgotten conflict in Sudan's Nuba Mountains, where journalists and NGOs are banned from venturing. This rare IRIN film was captured by local community groups with guidance from international media. The narration is scripted from interviews with more than a dozen Nuba civilians who have known nothing but war.

 

Conflict-free minerals

US President Donald Trump has signalled his intention to suspend Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, relieving companies from the need to disclose their use of conflict minerals – tantalum, tungsten, tin, and gold – for two years. Investigative reporter and regular IRIN contributor Emmanuel Freudenthal spent months in northern Congo, and found that conflict-free mineral legislation was actually hurting the lives of Congolese miners.

Part 1  and Part 2 of this feature highlight the lost livelihoods, explore whether conflict has actually been reduced, and question why the advocacy groups driving the conflict-free movement haven’t done more to debate the shortcomings of the legislation.

Women refugees at risk of sexual assault in Berlin shelters

A six-month investigation into Berlin shelters revealed that female refugees in Germany have grossly inadequate protection from sexual and gender-based violence. Dozens of women interviewed spoke about experiencing sexual harassment and living in fear of being assaulted. Following our investigation, UNHCR  Germany contacted us for a copy of the study behind the report.

Ivor Prickett/UNHCR
One of three huge hangars being used to house refugees at Berlin's form Tempelhof airport

UPDATED: Mapped - a world at war

Part of our ongoing series on the world’s forgotten conflicts, IRIN’s interactive map of ongoing conflicts around the world was republished by the Daily MailNational Geographic, and Wired. The map also appealed to many educators around the world seeking to use it in their classrooms and incorporate it into a textbook for students.

IRIN has launched its new online donations platform

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