Saturday, October 23, 2021

Burkina Faso suspends aid work by Norwegian Refugee Council

Burkina Faso on Friday suspended the Norwegian Refugee Council from carrying out humanitarian aid work in the country, citing critical interviews given to the media, including the VOA.

In a letter to Humanitarian Affairs Minister Helen Marie Lawrence Ilbaudou-Marchal, the government cited interviews that NRC representatives had with Voice of America and the French newspaper. le monde as its reason for suspending the activities of the group.

The NRC said in a statement on Friday that it was “working in dialogue with the government to address any concerns about respectful and cooperative relations and the resumption of our humanitarian work.”

Earlier interviews with the NRC claimed that the government had been slow in registering internally displaced people, citing a group of around 500 IDPs in Ouhigoya city who said they had been waiting for weeks to register. and they did not get help.

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The NRC also requested the government to allow it to register and help in this.

defense of the government

In an exclusive interview with VOA this week, the spokesman for the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Bakuan Yipen Florent, dismissed claims that the IDP had not received aid in Ouhigoya.

On their way back to the point of IDP registration, a team was immediately deployed and handled the enumeration process as soon as they arrived at the site in Ouhigoya on June 12, he said.

Florent noted that IDPs are registered only after they are officially counted and provided with some initial assistance, including food and $100 for each family.

FILE – Displaced women cook food at Kaya Camp, 100 km north of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, February 8, 2021.

He said the government has drawn up a two-month plan for assistance to a group of IDPs.

When there is an influx of IDPs, Florent said, they can’t be registered because victims can’t immediately answer essential questions. When the first aid is over and psychological help is received, the registration can go ahead, he said.

Fight with extremists, bandits

There are 1.3 million IDPs in Burkina Faso, embroiled in a six-year conflict with armed groups linked to Islamic State, al-Qaeda and local bandits. The United Nations has described it as the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crisis.

Refugee advocacy groups have recently criticized the government for banning journalists from visiting official IDP sites. The government said the ban was intended to protect the dignity of the IDP and the safety of journalists.

Dauda Diallo of Burkinabe human rights group, The Collective Against Immunity and the Stigmatization of Communities, criticized the suspension of the NRC in an interview with VOA. He said the decision showed a disregard for the fate of the civilian population benefiting from the work of the NGO.

The humanitarian minister’s letter states that the country is doing its best to assist the IDP in difficult situations.

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