“Consecrate Them In The Truth”-A Pastoral Exhortation Against Fake News

Brothers and sisters in Christ:

A key dimension of Jesus’ mission was to preach the truth, and in His high priestly prayer, He prayed that His disciples might be consecrated in the truth.  We, the Filipino nation, are part of the community of disciples for whom He prayed.  At his trial, the question of truth figured prominently.  “What is truth?” asked a bewildered Pilate, because he failed to recognize in Jesus, THE TRUTH!

So it is that the Christian cannot be part of falsehood, deceit and lies.  A fact is anything that is or that happens.  If one man kills another, it cannot but be a fact that the deed was done, and any “alternative fact” that would have it so that no killing was done is simply false, and, when meant to deceive, a lie!

The duty to speak the truth is so elemental a demand of morality and of good social order that it can hardly be reduced to more elementary precepts.  It is almost as fundamental as the first principle of all morality: “Do good; avoid evil.”  Human life would be impossible in a society where we constantly and habitually deceived each other.

Crucial decisions — personal and social — depend on the accurate grasp of facts.  “Alternative facts” and “fake news” engender faulty decisions many times with disastrous long-term consequences to persons and to communities.  Sadly, we see this happening today.  There are persons who have given themselves to the service of reporting what never happened, concealing what really happened, and distorting what should be presented in a straightforward manner.

The active involvement of citizens in creating a nurturing society steeped in justice depends on the truth.  That is the service to which media is called.  That is why we have schools and colleges and universities.  That is why teaching is a noble profession.  That is why books and magazines, journals and articles are published.

But social media which, initially, promised to democratize expression and free the dissemination of truth from the clutches of moneyed entrepreneurs financing mainstream media has become the unfortunate site of “alternative facts” and “fake news”.  Not only does this offend against the orientation of the human intellect to the truth.  It is, more fundamentally, a sin against charity because it hinders persons from making right and sound decisions and induces them, instead, to make faulty ones!

Our Catholic faith obliges us:

1.  To refrain from patronizing, popularizing and supporting identified sources of “alternative facts” or “fake news”.

2.  To rebut and refute falsehood whenever they are in possession of facts and of data.

3.  To refuse to be themselves purveyors of fake news and to desist from disseminating this whether on social media or by word of mouth or through any other form of public expression.

4.  To identify the sources of fake news so that our brothers and sisters may be duly alerted and may know which media and which sites to shun.

We your bishops join the Lord Jesus in His prayer that we all be consecrated in the truth, because the Word of the Lord is truth!

From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, June 21, 2017

(Sgd)+ SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan

President, CBCP

Invitation to the Bishops for the National Marian Congress

7-8 July 2017 at the FR2-5 SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City

09 June 2017

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies and Reverend Administrators:

Praised be Jesus and Mary!

This year is a grace-filled moment in the Church because 2017 marks the centennial anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal. In 1917, “the Virgin Mary appeared there and warned that World War II would come, that Russia would spread her errors, that the Church would be persecuted, and that various nations might be annihilated. And yet she promised her triumph in the end.”

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) joins the tribute, tasking the Marian Solidarity for Pope Francis with three important projects in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. One of which is the National Marian Congress this coming 7-8 July 2017 at the FR2-5 SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

In this connection, we would like to invite you, dear bishop, and your parishioners to attend the said event on 7-8 July 2017. Like the Marian Retreat scheduled on 3-6 July 2017, of which we too are organizers, the congress will also focus on the story of the Fatima apparitions, Our Lady’s message, and the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Marian Solidarity for Pope Francis invited Ms. Angelyn Dee, Rev. Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, and Dr. Peter Howard to give talks on the topics abovementioned. A token donation of five-hundred pesos (Php500) per person will help us pay for the venue expenses.

To confirm your attendance, please contact the Marian Solidarity Secretariat (Gina or Albert) at (02) 632-1001 to 03 / 0922-846-3702 / 0922-846-3703. An online registration will be made available beginning June 12, 2017. You may deposit your donation to: Assisi Development Foundation, Inc. at BPI C/A 2431005126. Please fax a copy of the deposit slip with your name and contact numbers to (02) 6327844 or scan a copy and email to mariansolidarity_twohearts@gmail.com. Entrance tickets will be delivered by special courier if remitted on or before June 22, 2017. After June 22, 2017, Entrance Tickets will be picked-up at the SMX Convention Center, 2nd Level at Marian Congress Registration Table Ticket Reservations.

On behalf of the Marian Solidarity for Pope Francis, it is our hope and prayer that you will accept our humble invitation. Thank you.

Entrusting your concerns to the care of Our Lady and for Saints Francisco and Jacinta to intercede for us, we remain,

Sincerely yours,


+MOST REV. GUILLERMO V. AFABLE, D.D.
Bishop of Digos
Bishop Coordinator for Marian Retreat and Congress

Let Us Love Not With Words But With Deeds

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
19 November 2017

Let us love, not with words but with deeds

1. “Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18).  These words of the Apostle John voice an imperative that no Christian may disregard.  The seriousness with which the “beloved disciple” hands down Jesus’ command to our own day is made even clearer by the contrast between the empty words so frequently on our lips and the concrete deeds against which we are called to measure ourselves.  Love has no alibi.  Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example; especially when it comes to loving the poor.  The Son of God’s way of loving is well-known, and John spells it out clearly.  It stands on two pillars: God loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:10.19), and he loved us by giving completely of himself, even to laying down his life (cf. 1 Jn 3:16).

Such love cannot go unanswered.  Even though offered unconditionally, asking nothing in return, it so sets hearts on fire that all who experience it are led to love back, despite their limitations and sins.  Yet this can only happen if we welcome God’s grace, his merciful charity, as fully as possible into our hearts, so that our will and even our emotions are drawn to love both God and neighbour.  In this way, the mercy that wells up – as it were – from the heart of the Trinity can shape our lives and bring forth compassion and works of mercy for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in need.

2. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps 34:6).  The Church has always understood the importance of this cry.  We possess an outstanding testimony to this in the very first pages of the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter asks that seven men, “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3), be chosen for the ministry of caring for the poor.  This is certainly one of the first signs of the entrance of the Christian community upon the world’s stage: the service of the poor.  The earliest community realized that being a disciple of Jesus meant demonstrating fraternity and solidarity, in obedience to the Master’s proclamation that the poor are blessed and heirs to the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3).

“They sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45).  In these words, we see clearly expressed the lively concern of the first Christians.  The evangelist Luke, who more than any other speaks of mercy, does not exaggerate when he describes the practice of sharing in the early community.  On the contrary, his words are addressed to believers in every generation, and thus also to us, in order to sustain our own witness and to encourage our care for those most in need.  The same message is conveyed with similar conviction by the Apostle James.  In his Letter, he spares no words: “Listen, my beloved brethren.  Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?  But you have dishonoured the poor man.  Is it not the rich who oppress you, and drag you into court? … What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works?  Can his faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled”, without giving them the things needed for the body; what does it profit?  So faith by itself, if it has not works, is dead’ (2:5-6.14-17).

3. Yet there have been times when Christians have not fully heeded this appeal, and have assumed a worldly way of thinking.  Yet the Holy Spirit has not failed to call them to keep their gaze fixed on what is essential. He has raised up men and women who, in a variety of ways, have devoted their lives to the service of the poor.  Over these two thousand years, how many pages of history have been written by Christians who, in utter simplicity and humility, and with generous and creative charity, have served their poorest brothers and sisters!

The most outstanding example is that of Francis of Assisi, followed by many other holy men and women over the centuries.  He was not satisfied to embrace lepers and give them alms, but chose to go to Gubbio to stay with them.  He saw this meeting as the turning point of his conversion: “When I was in my sins, it seemed a thing too bitter to look on lepers, and the Lord himself led me among them and I showed them mercy.  And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of mind and body” (Text 1-3: FF 110).  This testimony shows the transformative power of charity and the Christian way of life.

We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience.  However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs and the injustices that are often their cause, they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life.  Our prayer and our journey of discipleship and conversion find the confirmation of their evangelic authenticity in precisely such charity and sharing.  This way of life gives rise to joy and peace of soul, because we touch with our own hands the flesh of Christ.  If we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch his body in the suffering bodies of the poor, as a response to the sacramental communion bestowed in the Eucharist.  The Body of Christ, broken in the sacred liturgy, can be seen, through charity and sharing, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.  Saint John Chrysostom’s admonition remains ever timely: “If you want to honour the body of Christ, do not scorn it when it is naked; do not honour the Eucharistic Christ with silk vestments, and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness” (Hom. in Matthaeum, 50.3: PG 58).

We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude.  Their outstretched hand is also an invitation to step out of our certainties and comforts, and to acknowledge the value of poverty in itself.

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Launching of Laudato Si Pledge

June 12, 2017

Dear Friends and Partners,

Greetings of Peace from Global Catholic Climate Movement – Pilipinas.

GCCM-Pilipinas is the official Philippine Chapter of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. It was established during the Laudato Si Week on June 2016 with AMRSP, CBCP-NASSA, PMPI, Columban Missionaries and Franciscans as the lead convenors. Since then, GCCM-Pilipinas has been involved in various activities in promoting Pope Francis encyclical’s Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.

This year 2017, Laudato Si Week which is a special time to commemorate the presentation of the highly anticipated encyclical, will be celebrated on June 11 -18 in partnership with CBCP-NASSA. Central to the Laudato Si Week celebration is the Launching of the Laudato Si Pledge. The Laudato Si Pledge is a global campaign by the Global Catholic Climate Movement and its member organizations to raise awareness about Pope Francis’ powerful, ecological focused message, and encourage the catholic community to take action with the urgency required by the climate crisis. It aims to reach 1% of the 1.2 Billion Catholics around the world.

In this regard we would like to invite your organization/institution to participate in the Launching of Laudato Si Pledge which will be on Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 8:00am – 12:00pm at La Consolacion College Manila Auditorium, 8 Mendiola St., San Miguel, ManilaThe launching will begin with a Eucharist. A program will immediately follow with a talk from Tomas Insua, the Founder and Executive Director of GCCM about the campaign and how we as an organization/institution, family, or individual can contribute and bring to life Laudato Si. Highlight of the activity will be the public signing of the Pledge. Those who will sign the pledge will be incorporated in the network of GCCM-Pilipinas/GCCM International and will regularly receive information and updates on practices and events related to the care of our common home.

Please find attached concept note and event poster which you may use if you wish to promote the Laudato Si Pledge. Help us reach the target by signing the I/We Pledge forms, promoting Laudato Si Pledge via social media, setting sign-up desks in your workplace or events, or initiating local launching in your respective communities. You may use and follow the attached ritual for the launching or create a new one. Also, we have attached a prayer card template which you may print and reproduce as give-aways. All sign-up sheets will be collected and information will be stored in our database for monitoring and follow-up.

GCCM-Pilipinas takes its mandate from the call of Pope Francis to care for our common home. In gratitude, we would like to leave with you the message of Pope Francis in his audience with member of the Global Catholic Climate Movement in Rome last February 2017:

“I welcome the delegates from Global Catholic Climate Movement and I thank you for your efforts to care for our common home in these times of severe environmental crisis. I encourage you to continue building networks so that local churches respond with determination to the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor”.

Please confirm your participation on or before June 10, 2017. May we ask you also to please share/endorse this invitation to other colleges and departments and/or to anyone who you feel might be interested. For questions, clarifications and/or confirmation, you may contact GCCM-Pilipinas secretariat at telephone number (02) 372-3257 or thru e-mail:gccmpilipinas@gmail.com  or you may contact CBCP-NASSA at telephone number (02) 527-4147 or thru e-mails: jocelynguela@gmail.com or clindanoche@yahoo.com.
Thank you and we look forward to meeting you and your students, colleagues and friends, and to sharing with you this noble task of responding to the call of caring for our common home.

In Christ,

(Sgd.) John Din
National Coordinator, GCCM – Pilipinas

(Sgd.) Fr. John Leydon, MSSC
Chairperson, GCCM-Pilipinas

(Sgd.) Fr. Edwin Gariguez
Executive Secretary, CBCP-NASSA

 

Invitation to National Humanitarian & Solidarity Mission

June 1, 2017

Dear friends and partners,

Our brothers and sisters in Marawi City are besieged with a human-made calamity as firefighting between the government’s armed forces and the Maute group erupted on May 23 and is still continuing until now. The ravages of war have left dozens dead and wounded and caused 12,509 families or 59,665 individuals (as of May 29 DSWD data) so far to flee their homes; some of them opted to stay at the different evacuation centers while most of them seek refuge with their relatives in nearby places.

Meanwhile, there are also reports of displacements in North Cotabato, Bukidnon and SOCSKSARGEN areas due to aerial bombardments by the AFP. We are gathering data as well on these internal displacements.

Balsa Mindanao, a people’s mobilization for disaster response, has called for a nation-wide relief gathering campaign days after the onset of the Marawi siege. Balsa Mindanao is coordinating with the Sisters’ Association in Mindanao (Samin) for this campaign.

The statistics in Lanao del Sur are a cause of concern: 26 barangays have been affected, 15 of which are in Marawi and the 11 are in the neighboring municipalities. The 1,018 families or 4,278 persons are now staying in 14 evacuation centers, while 10,974 families or 54,870 persons are staying outside the evacuation centers with their relatives or friends. .

Given the immense humanitarian crisis as the country faces more challenges and issues as Martial Law has been declared in Mindanao, we call on concerned organizations, concerned citizens, and advocates in the country, overseas and in Mindanao to participate in the HUSTISYA AT KAPAYAPAAN PARA SA MINDANAO: A NATIONAL HUMANITARIAN AND SOLIDARITY MISSION on June13-15, 2017 in three areas: Marawi City, North Cotabato and Davao City.

The National Solidarity Mission aims to:

  1. Provide relief, medical, and trauma counselling to survivors
  2. Express our sympathy and interfaith solidarity with internally displaced persons
  3. Understand and seek ways to push for an inclusive peace in Mindanao
  4. Recommend actions to government agencies and policy makers, other civil society organizations, and the international community

We are therefore inviting you to be part of this Mission, taking note of the following suggested tasks:

  1. Help generate cash (see bank account details) and in-kind donations
  2. Contribute your competencies and skills by volunteering for the Mission committees
  3. For religious leaders, to help organize our interfaith liturgies with the affected communities
  4. Prepare for report-back actions (e.g. forums, local relief campaigns) in order to disseminate the needs and demands of the communities

(see Balsa APPEAL).

We are asking participating organizations to shoulder their participant’s fares (or arrange transportation) and food expenses so that the Mission can focus its resources for the relief operations.

For confirmation, please email us at balsamindanao@gmail.com or contact Cecil 09462413278 or Telefax 082- 2994964.

Through these interfaith efforts towards Muslim-Christian unity, we are all in solidarity with one another in these trying times.

Thank you.

Yours very sincerely,

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June16, 2017 : Kamayan Para sa Kalikasan

Continuing with our focus on green development, please come to

Kamayan para sa Kalikasan Forum
on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 10:30 am-1:30pm

at  Kamayan Restaurant on EDSA ( near Ortigas Ave., across the gate of Corinthian Gardens subdivision).

This session is being co-organized by the Climate Change congress of the Philippines (CCCP)

The theme is  “Building the Country  from the Bottom Up”.

Our main speaker will be

        Gina Lopez, former DENR secretary, who will  speak on I LOVE – Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies.  This program aims to empower communities with the funneling of funds and technology guided by the principles of integrity and ecology.

Other speakers are

        Marlo Mendoza  DENR Undersecretary for Operations (invited)  and

        Bel Formanes from the C|limate Change Congress of the Philippines.

This Kamayan is organized every third Friday of the month  by Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy together with SALIKA.

We thank Kamayan Restaurant which has been supporting this Forum as part  of the company’s environmental advocacy for the past 26 years.

Thank you.

God bless-

Angelina P. Galang
President
Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy

Project Address: ESI Bldg., Miriam College,
Katipunan Ave., Quezon City
Contact No: 899-0675;5805400 loc 1253
mail:      greenconvergencephil.com
website:   www.greenconvergencephil.com
fb page:   fb.com/ greenconvergencephilippines
twitter:    Henk Hamoen (@GreenCon) | Twitter

Philippine military, rebels create ‘peace corridor’

A team composed of government security forces and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels has been deployed in the southern Philippines to secure a “peace corridor” for refugees fleeing fighting in Marawi City.

Former foes unite to provide safe passage for refugees fleeing fighting in Marawi

Darwin Wally Wee, Zamboanga City 
UCAN Philippines

June 2, 2017

Irene Santiago, a peace activist and government peace negotiator, said the creation of the “peace corridor” would also ensure “a reliable space for humanitarian assistance to pass through.”

She said some 300 government and rebel fighters have been deployed throughout the length of the 73-kilometer “corridor” and “will be augmented as the need arises.”

The “peace corridor” was set up after rebel leaders offered to assist the government in ending the fighting in Marawi that entered its 11th day on June 2.

The conflict started when a band of local terrorist fighters claiming to have links with the so-called Islamic State tried to occupy the city on May 23.

On June 1, the military confirmed that 11 soldiers were killed and seven others were injured due to “friendly fire” during aerial bombing on May 31.

The Defense Department reported that 36 members of the security forces and 120 terrorist fighters have been killed in the clashes. At least 19 civilians were also reported killed.

Testament to peace process

The establishment of the “peace corridor” is a “testament to how far the peace process [with Moro rebels] has gone,” said Santiago.

She said MILF rebels, who had been waging war against the government for more than three decades, agreed to use “ceasefire mechanisms” to manage the “peace corridor.”

In 2014, the Philippine government signed a “comprehensive peace agreement” with the rebels.

“This ceasefire agreement remains in effect to this day and the ceasefire mechanisms are in place and working to prevent any armed conflict between the two parties,” said Santiago.

The agreement states that the MILF rejects all “kinds of terrorist acts.” The rebel group also committed not to provide sanctuary or assistance to terrorist groups and other lawless elements.

Santiago said the “peace corridor” is a “manifestation of the shared vision of government and MILF of what our society should look like — one that is open, inclusive, compassionate, just, and cooperative.”

“This is the complete opposite of the kind of society the terrorists want — a closed, isolationist, violent, ruthless society ruled by fear with total disregard for human life and … our diverse Philippine society,” she said.

Working jointly to deal with the present crisis, “the government and the MILF are also building a major corridor to peace.”

Number of refugees rises as fighting continues in Mindanao

Residents of Marawi City in the southern Philippines seek shelter in one of the evacuation centers set up by the government in nearby Iligan City. (Photo by Mark Saludes)

Tens of thousands have fled Marawi violence, agencies scramble to provide aid to help displaced

Mark Saludes, Iligan City 
UCAN Philippines
May 29, 2017

The number of people displaced in the southern Philippines continues to rise as military operations against gunmen claiming to have links with the so-called Islamic State entered its sixth day.

“We expect the number to increase. We are expecting more cases of displacement,” said McMillan Lucman of the autonomous government of the Muslim region of Mindanao.

As of May 28, the crisis management committee of the region has recorded more than 67,800 individuals had fled fighting in the southern city of Marawi to 38 evacuation sites while about 16,600 sought shelter in private homes.

Hadja Pombaen Kader of the social welfare office of the Muslim region said “home-based” refugees are staying with friends and relatives.

“They go to the evacuation centers during the day to collect food aid and relief goods,” Kader told ucanews.com.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has already released US$44,000 worth of assistance to affected families in the region.

Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the country’s Catholic bishops, has prepared at least 3,000 food packs and emergency aid goods for distribution.

Father Edwin Gariguez, executive director of Caritas Philippines, said his office and other dioceses across the country are also preparing to send relief goods to affected communities.

The priest called on faith-based groups to help mitigate the impact of the conflict and the displacement of people.

Father Gariguez said the church would use funds collected from its Lenten program to help affected Muslim and Christian communities.

The priest, however, said that the church aid agency will only “supplement” the government’s efforts.

“In case the need becomes big, we are prepared to ask help from the Caritas Confederation,” he said, adding that his office is still “assessing the situation.”

The priest appealed to the government not only to focus on war but also on the people.

“It should not just be a military aspect but a humanitarian response as well,” said Father Gariguez.

Most refugees have fled to the city of Iligan, according to social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

“They number more than the [internally displace people] in evacuation centers,” she said, adding that assistance should be given to evacuees staying with their relatives.

Armed confrontations and displacement in Marawi City

Protection ALERT
31 May 2017, Issue No. 2, Page 1

Incident Summary

Firefights broke out in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur on the afternoon of 23 May 2017, following the ambush of a military vehicle by members of the Maute Group, a local armed group that has engaged in armed clashes with government troops since early 2016, and which has reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Following the declaration of Martial Law throughout Mindanao on the night of 23 May, clashes have continued, with the Armed Forces of the Philippines launching surgical air strikes in the barangays of Basak Malutlut, Gadungan, and Bangon. As of 29 May, nearby areas such as the municipality of Marantao have also reportedly been affected.

Displacement Updates

According to government estimates as of 30 May, around 14,313 families (estimated 71,115 persons) have fled Marawi either towards the northbound highway heading to Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro, or the westbound road going to the nearby municipalities of Marantao and Balindong. Based on data reported and being continuously updated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), this number includes 2,261 families (estimated 10,809 persons) who are currently staying in evacuation centers and 12,052 families (estimated 60,306 persons) home-based IDPs in Region X and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), including Marawi City.

Protection Assessment

As thousands continue to flee Marawi, access to food and other basic items such as drinking water and medicines remains the biggest challenge for those who are now in collective centers (holding areas) and evacuation centers as well as those staying with host families. Since most of the displaced families fled without their belongings, kitchen utensils are seen as a particular need during the current Ramadhan season. In addition, market prices of commodities in Iligan City and surrounding areas were observed to have increased due to the influx of IDPs, raising concerns regarding access to basic needs for the most vulnerable, including those who have been separated from their families. Local government units in most areas hosting IDPs have provided initial assistance.

Validation and registration of home-based IDPs are currently being conducted by barangay officials in the respective host communities. Cultural sensitivities such as the prevalence of rido (clan feuds) may pose additional challenges in the tracking and registration of home-based IDPs. Especially considering that many IDPs rely on the resources of their relatives and extended networks, family tracing and reunification are also of vital concern.

Reported concerns regarding physical safety, including safe passage for civilians trapped in areas affected by firefights and freedom of movement for those without identity documents (given strict identification checks implemented in some areas), are being verified by protection partners. As of 30 May, the Regional Human Rights Commission is also monitoring and validating reports of civilian casualties and damage to property.

Initial protection concerns have been identified in evacuation centers, such as: (1) inadequate coverage from heat and rain, coupled with insufficient latrines/basic water and sanitation facilities to cater to the growing number of IDPs, which could trigger health risks; (2) lack of privacy and increased risk of gender-based violence, which may result from the absence of partitions in sleeping quarters and lighting in pathways and areas around portable toilets; and (3) psychosocial issues that could be addressed through the establishment of child-friendly and women-friendly spaces, as well as feeding areas for lactating mothers.

IDPs’ access to information is also a key concern. Emergency responders, through the coordination mechanisms that have been activated (see below) are working to improve the collection, validation, and dissemination of displacement data in order to effectively address protection and other needs, including through the provision of targeted assistance.   Continue reading