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Darwesh, refugee from Iraq: “I am thankful we are alive”
17 September 2014 (IRIN ), Darwesh, 65, and his extended family were among thousands who fled the predominantly Yazidi town of Tel Azer in northern Iraq a few weeks ago when Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) forces attacked. They have now made it over the border into a camp in Syria.
Paul*, gay rights campaigner in DRC: “They said I was the Antichrist”
18 August 2014 (IRIN ), Homosexuality may, unusually for an African country, be legal in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the time being, but gay people there also face the ostracism, stigma and exploitation, according to Paul* 27-year-old the co-founder of a gay rights organization in the eastern South Kivu Province.
John Kayihula, Congolese refugee in Rwanda: I focus on sport so as to forget my life
9 July 2014 (IRIN ), Few of the 14,700 Congolese refugees in Rwanda’s Gihembe camp envisage returning home any time soon. As with Rwanda’s total caseload of 75,000 Congolese refugees, most are Tutsis who arrived between 1995 and 1997 from Masisi and Rutshuru territories in North Kivu, a province which still has a plethora of armed groups, making it too dangerous for the UN to organize refugee returns.
Abu Salah, IDP from Iraq: “Now, apart from security, we have nothing”
25 June 2014 (IRIN ), Two residents of the Iraqi city Tikrit describe the moment militants entered their city this month, and what they experienced as they fled the fighting.
Ghulam Rahimi: "I'm waiting for resettlement, but it's a very long wait"
17 April 2014 (IRIN ), Ghulam Rahimi*, 17, is an Afghan refugee from Iran. He was one of 25 unaccompanied minors detained in one room at the immigration detention centre in Makassar on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. He told IRIN his story.
Yonathan Habte, trafficking survivor: "At least if I died, it wouldn’t go on"
12 February 2014 (IRIN ), In March 2012, Yonathan Habte*, then 26, decided to flee Eritrea where he had evaded military service and was facing jail. With a background in computer engineering, he was confident he could make a life in another African country. Instead, he was kidnapped near the Sudanese border and trafficked to Egypt, where he barely survived three months in two different camps in the lawless Sinai region, near the Israeli border. He talked to IRIN over the phone from Sweden.
Martha Anger, refugee from South Sudan: “They opened fire on us”
16 January 2014 (IRIN ), Since widespread conflict broke out in South Sudan in mid-December 2013, following what the government called a “failed coup attempt”, the UN estimates that some 413,000 people have been internally displaced, with thousands of others fleeing into neighbouring countries. The total number of people displaced is likely higher, as aid agencies have limited information outside the main population centres, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Ferdinand Quieta, “We did not know water could kill”
8 January 2014 (IRIN ), Two months ago, when it was nearly 7a.m., 21 members of a family were gathered in the home of the 84-year-old family matriarch on Leyte island in the central Philippines, to protect themselves from a “storm surge” arriving up the coast. None of them knew what this warning meant. They understood wind damage from typhoons, but not the fatal combination of wind and water.
Shing Ha Ling, Myanmar: “Poverty keeps us down”
3 December 2013 (IRIN ), Even as a child, Shing Ha Ling, 21, knew that her only way out of poverty would be through education, but she was forced to abandon her studies halfway through secondary school in her home region of Chin State, western Myanmar. Now, with only patchy income to support herself, her husband, and their 18-month-old son in Ngon Laung village, a two-hour motorbike ride across rough terrain from the closest town, Kanpetlet, she faces mounting debt.
Irene Icao, typhoon survivor: "I lost all five of my children"
14 November 2013 (IRIN ), Almost a week after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the eastern-central Philippine city of Tacloban, Irene Icao, 27, is still very emotional as she recalls in vivid detail the last seconds of the lives of her five children: Russel, 8; Joji, 6; Kent, 5; Mayjoy, 2; and one-year-old Sherly.
Ahmed Omar Isaak, Somali migrant: "I never dreamed I would end up in the sea"
11 November 2013 (IRIN ), Ahmed Omar Isaak, 31, fled the conflict in his home country of Somalia in January 2012. His intention was merely to move to a place of safety, but that proved much harder than he had imagined. Over the next 16 months, he travelled nearly 5,000km in trucks, buses, boats and the boot of a car, enduring detention, beatings and being stranded in the Sahara desert. He told IRIN about his journey over the phone from Malta.
Omar Farooq, Iraq: “It is like the fire is getting closer”
28 October 2013 (IRIN ), Security analysts say identity-based assassinations, kidnappings and death threats in Iraq – a trade mark of the sectarian violence of 2006-7 - have been quietly on the rise in recent months. Here is one man’s story.
Mathotine Dz'dai, displaced in DRC: “We’re risking death again”
30 September 2013 (IRIN ), In just the last month, fighting between the army and rebels in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has displaced 100,000 people. Many are now living without humanitarian assistance and in very precarious conditions.
Samer Fanari, "We have to use illegal ways"
25 September 2013 (IRIN ), Samer Fanari, 27, defected from the Syrian army a year and a half ago and crossed into Turkey with nothing but his military tags. His plan was to travel to Sweden where his mother lives and apply for asylum, but he only got as far as Greece. He spoke to IRIN about his experiences.
Roger Jean Claude Mbede, Cameroon: "I was subjected to torture"
16 September 2013 (IRIN ), Cameroon is among the world's most hostile countries to homosexuality, rights groups say. Homosexuality is punishable by up to five years in prison, as well as fines. In the past three years, the country has prosecuted at least 28 people for homosexuality, according to Human Rights Watch.
Omer Hussein, Sudan: "There will not be North without South and no South without North"
5 September 2013 (IRIN ), The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan pledged at a summit in Khartoum on 3 September to turn the page in their relations after reaching agreements on political and bilateral cooperation.
Ahmad, Palestinian refugee from Syria: “I feel we are double refugees”
28 August 2013 (IRIN ), For three weeks now, the Lebanese government has refused entry to Palestinian refugees fleeing the violence in Syria. Ahmed, 28, tells IRIN his story of being stuck in a conflict zone.
Mahamat Haroun Dahab, farmer, Chad: "What we really need here is schools, a flour mill and water"
27 August 2013 (IRIN ), The southeastern Chad border district of Tissi has seen an influx of people fleeing violence in neighbouring western Sudan, among them Chadian nationals who had either migrated there for work or fled earlier violence, and new refugees from Sudan’s Darfur area.
Mohannad Hamdnallah - Flood victim, Sudan: “Our house has completely collapsed”
23 August 2013 (IRIN ), More than half a million people in 16 of Sudan’s 18 states have been affected by flooding since early August. The worst affected is Khartoum State, where some 36,000 homes are thought to have been destroyed or damaged.
Warimu Gachenga, elderly slum resident: “Even buying soap is a problem”
21 August 2013 (IRIN ), Wairimu Gachenga, 70, lives in Nairobi’s Korogocho slum and looks after the two orphan children of her late daughter. Once a week, a group of grandmothers from the area get together to practice self-defence techniques after one of them was raped in 2007.

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