Nearly 6 million people displaced by conflicts in Africa in 2017


Nearly six million people displaced in 2017 due to conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a report issued today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

In a statement sent to Efe in Nairobi, the IDMC and the NRC stressed that Sub-Saharan Africa, a region where 14 percent of the world’s population lives, accounts for almost half of the 11.8 million displaced by conflicts in 2017 in the world.

According to the Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2018), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was the most affected African country, with almost 2.2 million people displaced.

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This figure is higher than the 2.1 million displaced people registered jointly by South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic (CAR).

The insurgency of Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram, ethnic violence and disputes over natural resources led to the displacement of more than 415,000 people in the Lake Chad basin, 65 percent of which took place in northeastern Nigeria.

In Somalia, some 388,000 displaced persons related to the conflict plus 892,000 associated with the drought that hit that country of the Horn of Africa were counted.

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The rains and floods forced 2.6 million people to leave their homes in the region.

“The overwhelming number of people forced to flee their homes due to conflict and violence should serve to open our eyes,” said NCR Secretary-General Jan Egeland, stressing that “more effort” is needed to avoid the problem…

The director of the IDMC, Alexandra Bilak, warned, meanwhile, that “internal displacements often tout the beginning of a major crisis.”

“I am 80 years old and I just learned to read and write thanks to a radio”

Margarita Forquera is an old woman, an inhabitant of the small town of El Nihuil, in Mendoza. Throughout 2017, it was part of an educational program of a San Rafael school in which dozens of grandparents were taught to read and write through the local radio station. The dreamed harmony of an example of life

Each month and for several years, the grandmother Margarita Forquera received a magazine from one of her daughters in her precarious house in a town in Mendoza. It was a publication that delivered a credit card from a local bank and allowed her to feed her imagination. The woman did not know how to read or write, but she expected the arrival of those pages in order to “create” the content in her head.

Margarita, in the living room where she learned to read and write for a year thanks to a radio

Margarita went through most of her life with her illiterate condition. Her husband, Hilario Arena, died a few years ago also unable to read or write. Once alone at home, the woman decided in 2017 and with 79 years to begin the process of literacy.

“When they gave me that magazine, I looked at the photos and the big letters, without understanding anything they said, and I liked to imagine what people might be saying or thinking about where in the world they had taken those photos. very curious, “Margarita told Infobae through a telephone conversation.

“With my husband had 12 children throughout our lives. Neither could neither read nor write. So we forced 12 to go to school. We did not want to repeat the same thing happened to us. We did not want that so many things of life were lost, “he reflected.

Margarita lived all her days in El Nihuil, a small town located about 70 kilometers from the city of San Rafael. Already old, it was too difficult for her to move to the big city to attend an adult school. For this reason, she joined an unpublished program developed by the Luis Grassi School for adults in San Rafael: she learned to write at home through classes given daily on the local radio by that educational institution.

The house where Margarita lives, today with her youngest daughter

“Last year I started going to that school, but the truth was that it was not always, when it was very cold, I preferred to stay at home, and this is a very cold area, so it was very difficult for me to learn a lot with classes when He went so often, “he explained.

At the beginning of 2017, Margarita was visited in her modest townhouse by a teacher and a psychologist, who offered to learn to read and write without leaving home. For that, they gave him a spreadsheet with large letters and drawings, gave him some colored pencils and warned him to be attentive to the radio during three specific times of the day.

María del Valle Cabaña, director of the Grassi School and one of the main promoters of the class program through a radio, stressed the importance of meeting the needs of those grandparents from rural villages with transfer difficulties.

“Nihuil is inhabited by people who have spent their entire lives in rural areas, they are very simple and humble people, and sometimes it is very difficult to convince these people of the countryside to move to a school to at least begin to read and write. “Cabaña explained to Infobae.

He added: “So, we were thinking about the idea with a team coordinated by the Section 5 supervisor, Pablo Moralejo, and we created this idea.”

In 2017, the "radio literacy" program added about 15 adult students

The adult center Grassi coordinated his work with the school of El Nihuil called Augusto Rousell to lend him his radio studio. There, a professional speaker recorded the classes between 12 and 15 minutes that would then be broadcast three times each day.

In the morning the program is broadcast with the repeated class of the previous day; At the time of the siesta the content of the new class of the day is heard and at about 20 the same lesson is repeated.

“At the beginning, as these people do not know how to write or read and since there is no physicist there to explain them, we give them a spreadsheet and relate the letters and numbers with colors: A is orange, I is violet, E is green … “, explained Cabaña.

Margarita Forquera was one of the 15 grandmothers and grandparents who dared to take the leap with the radio literacy classes.

” The first word I wrote was my name, I did it at 79 years old and it’s a very beautiful word,” Margarita said with great emotion.

The old woman provides the interview with a borrowed cell phone. Her lack of habit of new technologies made her stick the microphone too much to her face. Therefore, his voice is heard far away, with noises.

“There are many things that people who can read will never understand, I almost never could go out without being accompanied by one of my children.” If I went to the store, I had to wait for the owner to grab my tickets because I did not I could count how much money I had to pay, even when I went to this school in San Rafael, they had to accompany me, if I got lost, there was no way I could understand which streets I was in

Margarita never left El Nihuil. During all his youth he lived in a country house, in the rural depth of the area. All her family and herself dedicated herself to the raising of goats. Later, he worked on farms and in a metallurgical factory called De Grassi.

“There, I was in charge of having all the worker’s lunch ready, I knew how to count but I did not know how to read the time, so to know when I had to go to my house, I would draw a line every day on a paper every day. When the big needle of the watch looked up, when I counted six lines, I knew that I could go to my house. ”

“My compañeras helped me so that I could collect all the salary and I have to thank my bosses and my employers who helped me so that I did not have more time than I had to stay.”

Both the De Grassi factory and the Carbon-metal factory were the two main labor engines of El Nihuil in its history. Once both closed, the young people of the region were forced to move to other nearby cities. And there were the old, the old, practically isolated.

“At first, I was a little embarrassed to say that I was almost eighty years old and could not read or write, but the teachers and some neighbors encouraged me to study and congratulated me, sometimes it betrays my memory a bit and I forget things, but with effort everything can be done, “Margarita reflected in her forceful but soft voice.

Students and some of the teachers who are part of the program of literacy classes through a radio

The 80-year-old woman recognizes that she still has to practice and finish learning some things. He tries to read the posters in the businesses, the names of the streets and, from time to time, he is encouraged to interpret the occasional text message on the cell phones of his children.

Also, after the first literacy year, Margarita remains linked to the adult institution of San Rafael: today it is part of the schooling process at the Luis Grassi organization. It must go back to the educational institution, where the classes increased their diversity of material and even demand.

“Now I go to school, yes, but I keep the same idea: if it’s very cold, I prefer to stay in a house, I’m not going to be so cool at this stage of my life,” said Margarita.

The woman, who recently overcame a phase of depression for the death of her husband Hilario, is now dedicated to continue their studies and enjoy their more than 30 grandchildren who visit her every day.

The area of ​​El Nihuil is composed mostly of rural houses

Meanwhile, the radio literacy program in El Nihuil continues to expand: “In 2017 we had about 15 students through this system, of which 10 are already enrolled in our center today, ” explained Cabaña.

“In addition, in the two months of classes we have this year, about five new students joined us and several districts asked us for the bases to do the same in their regions, ” he added.

Margarita broke the radio with which she learned to write. Even the worn wooden table that he used as a desk in his precarious living for a year today rests at the door, outside the home. It was replaced by a new white table. Reflections of a new life, of an old woman who thanks to the understanding and writing of the texts found her particular way of “being born again”.

“Now I can read messages and know who wrote them to me and that is beautiful, I would like it if there are other people who are as I was, who put the batteries and make the effort.” With effort and care, everything is achieved. It’s late when the happiness is good, “he said with emotion shortly before taking off the microphone of the borrowed cell phone from his cheek.

Manifestation against the Polish Government’s plan to restrict abortion

Tens of thousands of people, mostly women, gathered today in Warsaw to protest against a plan to tighten legislation on abortion, now in the process of parliament and backed by the government party, the right-wing nationalist Law, and Justice (PiS).

Around 55,000 people demonstrated in the Polish capital, according to the city’s spokesman Bartek Milczarczyk, in a protest called “Black Friday”.

The trigger for these concentrations is the bill to limit the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, admitted for processing by the House on January 10, the result of the popular initiative “Stop Abortion”, which has the majority support of deputies of the Pee.

Since then, a parliamentary commission reviews the proposal, which seeks to prohibit abortion for cases in which the fetus has malformations, an irreversible disease or Down syndrome.

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Until that commission gives the green light, the proposal cannot be voted on by Parliament.

The “Stop Aborcja” proposal only allows abortion for cases in which the life of the mother is at risk or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

The demonstrators, coming in many cases from different parts of Poland, passed before the Polish Parliament, the seat of Law and Justice and one of the most significant churches in Warsaw, in protest of the support of the Catholic hierarchy to the proposal “Stop Abortion ”

In addition to Warsaw, there are protests on Friday in other cities in Poland against the restriction of abortion.

A spokesman for the Polish Episcopal Conference, Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, has said that “the delay in parliamentary procedures on legislation to limit abortion is cause for concern” for the Church in Poland, where 90 percent of the population of declares Catholic.

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“We do not want politicians or priests to come and tell us what to do with our bodies,” said one of the protesters, Magda, who like other women carried a hanger, allusive to her body is not just a simple receptacle to give light, but it is the woman who must be able to decide on her body.

The leader of Law and Justice, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has shown himself on numerous occasions in favor of the prohibition of the so-called eugenic abortion, even though Poland already has by itself one of the most restrictive laws in this respect in Europe.

Faced with the communist period, when it was practically free, the current Polish law, dating from 1993, only allows abortion when the health or life of the mother is in danger, pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or the fetus suffers malformations or irreversible disease.

Official data indicate that more than 1,000 abortions are practiced every year, although the Federation for Women and Family Planning, dedicated to helping women to abort within the allowed cases, believes that the real number of pregnant women who abort annually can over 100,000 cases, explained to Efe one of their representatives, Krystyna Kapura.

The Polish government tried unsuccessfully to toughen the abortion law in October 2016, although the protest of thousands of women across the country forced him to stop his project, despite the fact that Law and Justice has an absolute majority in Parliament.

New strategy in favor of breastfeeding, which strives to win adepts

The World Health Organization (WHO) today introduced a new strategy to promote breastfeeding in the world, a practice that, despite its proven benefits for both women and newborns, is far from being the preferred choice for women. mothers

Only 40% of babies up to six months receive breast milk exclusively, an even lower percentage in many high-income countries, where milk formula enjoys great popularity, recognized the organization’s specialist, Laurence Grummer-Strawn.

WHO, together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), presented a guide with ten concrete steps aimed at encouraging and supporting new mothers in their breastfeeding experience.

The guide includes the adoption by the maternal and child centers of a clear policy of support for breastfeeding, the training of health personnel, the accompaniment and advice to women in labor and the conditioning to avoid separation of the baby and the mother during the first hours and days of life.

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These series of recommendations are an update of the previous ones, which date back thirty years and have had a relative application.

One of the great novelties is that breastfeeding is now encouraged within the first hour after birth, even in the case of premature babies, low birth weight or some other type of complication, explained Grummer-Strawn in a wheel of the press

One of the cornerstones of WHO’s strategy to promote breastfeeding in recent decades has been the “children-friendly hospitals” initiative, where most of the steps included in the plan presented today are already applied.

However, Grummer-Strawn acknowledged that only 10% of maternal units are recognized as such, partly because it requires the implementation of voluntary measures and that they can be expensive, so now the goal is to universalize this concept.

One of the options considered by WHO is that the “friends of children” qualification be included in the certification process that hospitals and other health centers must comply with in order to function.

Breast milk is an important source of energy and nutrients for children beyond the first six months of life, in which the exclusive diet should be.

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Between six and twelve months of life contributes half of the needs in calories and a third between twelve and twenty-four months.

The WHO estimates that breastfeeding prevents the death each year of about 820,000 children under the age of five, since it limits the danger of infections, and in the long term also reduces the risk of obesity by 30% and the risk of suffering from diabetes by 35 %.

Although it is paradoxical, it is in high-income countries where there are “greater barriers” to breastfeeding, due among other factors to a medical staff with an “interventionist” mentality or because the newborn is removed from the mother to wash it.

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WHO, however, made it clear that its strategy is not about “forcing” a woman to choose to breastfeed if she prefers to give up or make her feel guilty for that choice, but rather that each mother has all the information right at your fingertips.

About the rejection in certain societies to the scene of a mother breastfeeding a child of two or more years, the WHO encourages women who so wish to continue breastfeeding after that age.

“You have to stop judging mothers in either way, either because they do not breastfeed or because they do it for a long time,” said Grummer-Strawn.

The expert also acknowledged the role of the advertising of formula milk in the stagnation of breastfeeding rates, through figures that show the economic importance of this product.

If in 2014 the sale of that milk generated revenues of 44,000 million dollars worldwide, by 2019 it will reach 70,000 million, according to forecasts.

Rescued 75 immigrants in El Estrecho and continues the search for seven disappeared

Maritime Rescue and Moroccan teams have rescued today 75 immigrants who traveled in five boats in the waters of the Strait, while the search continues for the seven missing from the shipwreck that occurred yesterday in the same area, after which four bodies were recovered.

At seven o’clock in the morning, Salvamento Marítimo initiated a wide-ranging device by receiving notices from several boats navigating the area.

The boat “Salvamar Arcturus” has located eight miles southwest of Tarifa (Cádiz) a boat in which 32 men, five women, and a baby were traveling, according to the device.

After rescuing them, he has transferred the 38 immigrants, all of the sub-Saharan origin, to the port of Tarifa.

In the port facilities, the social-health device of the Red Cross, the Public Health Emergencies Company, the Civil Guard and the National Police have been activated to assist immigrants.

Throughout the morning, according to sources of Maritime Rescue, 37 other immigrants who were trying to reach the Spanish coast in four boats have been rescued by Moroccan forces.

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On the other hand, the search continues for seven missing immigrants in the Strait on Sunday from a boat that left the Moroccan coast with twelve crew.

Maritime Rescue managed to rescue a single survivor, a young man of about 20 years old from Gambia who, very affected by the experience, reported that they had left the coast of Morocco around two in the morning and that, due to the strong wind and the bad sea, the occupants of the boat, a toy plastic boat, were falling into the sea little by little, as they have told EFE sources close to the operation of rescue and attention.

Together with the survivor, four bodies were recovered, while the rest of the people who were traveling in the boat are missing.

The search operation of these disappeared continues this afternoon in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Japan, the country that turns its back on refugees

A twenty-something Kurdish woman has been detained in Tokyo for three months. He arrived in the country 16 years ago with his family and his request for asylum was never approved, as the vast majority of the 20,000 people who sought refuge in Japan in 2017.

Despite being one of the most developed countries in the world, Japan has gained notoriety in recent years for its refusal to accept the arrival of refugees, a situation that local NGOs define as a “violation of human rights.”

“Japan has an express policy against refugees, I do not understand why we are so backward, what are they afraid of?” Complains the Tokyo lawyer Takeshi Ohashi, who is dedicated to assisting asylum seekers during a conference at the Foreign Press Club of Tokyo (FCCJ).

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Her work is to deal with cases such as those of Dursun, who was arrested after the local authorities refused to continue renewing her temporary residence visa, which pushed her into illegality and ended up in an immigration detention center, according to her complaint. mother.

“My daughter came to Japan when she was just six years old, she married a Kurdish asylum seeker eleven months later and was arrested for no reason,” explains Dursun’s mother, Hartje Toma, who defines the situation in the immigration centers as “inhuman.”

Requests for asylum in Japan have multiplied in recent years to reach 20,000 in 2017, while the number of applications approved has continued to fall and stood last year at only 20 (0.2 percent), According to data from the Japanese Ministry of Justice.

In 2012, of 2,545 people who requested asylum in Japan, 18 received it – 0.8 percent – a percentage that has fallen in the following years to 0.3 and 0.2 percent, which translates to in 110 refugee status granted in a period of six years, details the same source.

For Japanese organizations in favor of refugees, what is really serious is the “arbitrariness with which arrests occur” and also the fact that many of these people start a new life in the Asian country without knowing when they will be expelled.

“The law in Japan allows immigration authorities to detain foreign residents who are under a deportation order, which does not establish is for how long,” denounces the organization tokiota Friends of the Detained Immigrants (SYI).

Families separated by indefinite detention and “inhuman” sanitary conditions are some of the situations that they accuse the Japanese Government. This, and the passivity of Japanese society, according to an SYI report.

For the volunteer Sayaka Iwakawa, what is really serious is the circumstance in which the children of those refugees face that, before the arrest of one of their parents, they must start working at an early age and in an irregular manner, and in the case of staying in school, they suffer bullying from their classmates.

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“Children have to work with only 10 or 11 years to help their families and in the case of girls, most end up getting married very young,” Iwakawa told Efe, who works with immigrants and refugees in peripheral areas of Tokyo. as Kawaguchi or Warabi, the latter known as “Warabistan”.

These two neighborhoods located in Saitama (north of Tokyo) host many immigrants, including some 2,000 people of Kurdish origin, who after fleeing from Turkey, Syria and Iraq, went to Japan to seek asylum, none of them successfully.

For Ohashi, this is because Japan does not want to risk its good relations with Turkey by granting refugee status to any person of Kurdish origin, a situation that has even starred in the documentary “Backdrop Kurdistan” by the Japanese Masaru Nomoto.

Unable to endure indefinite detention, some of the refugees end up giving in and accepting deportation under their own means. During 2016, according to the Japanese Ministry of Justice, 6,575 immigrants accepted to pay for their return to their country of origin, 93.7% of the total.

“It is a humiliation for her to be locked up and this causes her panic attacks, sometimes she even spits blood,” says Toma about the situation of her daughter, who has been in the immigration center of Shinagawa (south of Tokyo) for three months.

Organizations in favor of refugees in Tokyo estimate that half of the detainees in this type of facility are in fact asylum seekers who do not have any legal status, figures that they expect to increase in the future.

Immigrant children have more academic and social difficulties than natives

Migrant students or those with a migratory background have more difficulties in achieving a good academic and welfare level than natives, according to the latest OECD report presented today in Brussels.

The managing director of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Mexican Gabriela Ramos, was commissioned to present the “first report” in which the adaptation of immigrant students or descendants of immigrants to their place is analyzed of destination based on the Pisa 2015 report.

“A way to integrate immigrants in a satisfactory way is through the schools,” said Ramos, who considers “absolutely crucial” the importance of educational systems in adapting these immigrants.

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The Managing Director of the OECD recalled some examples that have already been launched, such as the World Relief Chicago project, which promotes the interests of refugee and immigrant families in the US city, or the intercultural seal awarded since 2012 in Portugal. the schools that promote integration.

“But much more can still be done,” Ramos insisted, adding that “it is not just a question of helping immigrants, but also educating the native population (…), that children understand the richness of living together to other children from different backgrounds. ”

Migration flows are changing the composition in the classrooms: almost one out of every four students of 15 years in OECD countries is foreign or has at least one parent born abroad.

The low academic performance is a common feature for most students with a migratory background: while 3 out of 4 native students in the OECD countries and the European Union in 2015 reached a basic level of competences in the three main subjects of PISA – reading, mathematics, and science – only 6 out of 10 with migratory backgrounds got it.

A difference that is widened in the case of first-generation immigrants (foreign-born students of parents born abroad), of which 49% reached the basic levels of academic competence in the OECD (50% in the EU ), compared to 72% of natives (71% in the EU).

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In Spain, the levels were 52% among first-generation immigrants compared to 75% among native students.

In addition to the academic response, the report focuses on the degree of ability to adapt socially and notes that 41% of first-generation immigrants show a weak sense of belonging, compared to 33% of students without any migratory background.

Spain is one of the countries with the highest feeling of belonging to their school by first-generation immigrants (71%), although there is a considerable difference compared to their native peers (85%).

The report also analyzes the degree of satisfaction with life as a measure of the degree of “subjective” well-being of students.

According to the PISA 2015 data collected by the OECD, 31% of the first generation immigrant students declared to be dissatisfied with their life, a figure that in the case of the natives was reduced to 28%.

The largest differences in satisfaction between native adolescents and first-generation immigrants are found in Lithuania (25%), Chile (12%), Spain (11%) and France (11%).

On the other hand, Mexico (84%) and Holland (86%) stand out as countries with students (natives and immigrants) more satisfied, while in Hong Kong the average satisfaction level of both is 55%.

According to the report, one of the sources of stress most cited by adolescents is anxiety related to homework and school exams, as well as pressure and concern about grades.

In this sense, of the native students of the OECD countries, 61% showed levels of anxiety related to school work, 6 percentage points less than their immigrant peers.

The study points out that, in many cases, people with less talent but with greater motivation to achieve their goals are more likely to succeed than those who have talent but are not able to set goals.

In this case, the percentage of first-generation immigrants who claimed to want to be the best in what they do (71%) was greater than that of natives (64%).

A week without news of Gabriel Cruz, the missing boy in Níjar

A week after his disappearance, Gabriel Cruz, the 8-year-old boy whose trace was lost last Tuesday in Las Hortichuelas, in Níjar (Almería), when he left his paternal grandmother’s house to go play with cousins, still does not appear…

After hundreds of hours of beatings in the environment and despite thousands of people have tracked Las Hortichuelas and other nearby locations such as Las Negras or Rodalquilar, the search still has not yielded results, and the only clue available is a shirt found by the father and your partner in the vicinity of a water treatment plant.

The shirt contains the minor’s DNA and is being analyzed to try to extract from it all the possible information to clarify what happened seven days ago in Las Hortichuelas.

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The delegate of the Government in Andalusia, Antonio Sanz, has been confident that this pledge provides more information in the search investigation and has indicated that the researchers are “pending the shirt, through other tests slower.”

He stressed that research is “active, with different lines, we do not focus on one, in fact, new lines are opened in order to monopolize the most complete for the common goal of achieving a positive result.”

Sanz and the Minister of the Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, who will visit the area tomorrow, will meet with commanders of the Security Forces and Corps to analyze the latest data of the search, before the head of the Ministry present in the Sub-delegation of the Government of Almería the “Report of Persons Disappeared in Spain of the year 2017”.

The batidas have continued one more day and, as usual, at eight o’clock in the morning, they have begun the searches of the search device, which today has had 50 volunteers and 150 professionals.

The spokesman of the Commandery of Almeria, David Domínguez, has assured that the Civil Guard does not have “foreseen to diminish means for the search”, reason why it keeps in the place the Squadron of Cavalry, the Cynological Service, the Maritime Service, the GEAS, and Citizen Security patrols, among others.

Other professionals have also participated, such as the Local Police of different municipalities, Bomberos de Almería, Granada and Murcia, all of them coordinated by the command center of 112 in Andalusia, which also has three drones at your service.

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Tracking is maintained on the coastline and batches in a “hot zone” with a diameter of 6 kilometers, with “selective” searches in “wells, caves, abandoned farmhouses and areas where nobody usually passes” until the 12 kilometers. ”

In addition, the delegate of the Government of the Junta de Andalucía, Gracia Fernández, has indicated that a team of psychologists has been placed at the “request of the family”.

For its part, the Coordination Board of Jusapol (Police Salary Justice) in Almeria has decided to postpone a demonstration, called on March 9, to claim the salary kit of Civil Guard and National Police with other autonomous police bodies, in support of the parents of the minor.

The family of Gabriel Cruz has announced today, in addition, the call for a rally that will take place at noon next Friday in the Almeria capital.

Baby Jorry

This handsome young man is Jorry Rosier. Jorry was born with Down Syndrome. Over 60% of children with Down Syndrome are born with some type of heart defect and Jorry is one of those unfortunate babies. If he was here in the United States, he would have surgery for his Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). In the US, we no longer deny children born with Down Syndrome the right to have life-saving surgeries. That was not the case at one time, not all that long ago. In Haiti, there is no one to do this surgery for him through his parents have tried all avenues. Unfortunately, we’ve learned from past experiences, it seems that some doctors here in the US (who would certainly not deny an American child with Down Syndrome the opportunity to have his heart fixed) will actually refuse to do the same surgery for a child with DS from another country like Haiti. I am not sure why that type of logic still exists. and as a mother of a son with Down Syndrome (who needed heart surgery shortly after we adopted him from Venezuela as an infant 13 years ago), I find I am very unsettled and saddened by this situation.

Jorry deserves the opportunity for a long life, just as all children in the world deserve the best we can give them. We are told that all that God creates is good and that God never makes mistakes. I believe that with my whole heart and each time I look at my son, Gabriel, I see his perfection in new and enchanting ways. Gabe reminds me that our measure of perfection is not God’s. I’ve learned that the way the world defines success is most definitely not the same as God has intended for his children. Each day, God’s love and joy shine through those mischevious eyes and that glorious smile on my Gabe’s face. No child of God should be discriminated against due to a condition like Down Syndrome. I am praying fervently that someone can help find a doctor who would be willing to do the surgery for his little man. His parents are committed and have already gotten a passport for him. Can anyone out there help them?

Dieuna is Out of Hosptial at Last

These sweet little girls are standing watch over little Dieuna who is finally out of the hospital. Dieuna came to the states in May and had her surgery for her hydrocephaly, but has really struggled with complications. A brain infection, skin sores on her large head and many feeding issues have kept her at DuPont Hospital for weeks. We are so thankful to her host family for bravely standing by her as she fought her way through the challenges. Her host mom says she is definitely a fighter and the folks at the hospital have been so supportive. Dieuna is still being fed by NG tube, but Robyn (her host mom) is hoping to try some thickened formula by mouth this week. This little one can use as much prayer as we can send her way as she is not having much voluntary movement in her limbs. Her head was very large prior to surgery and though the surgery was successful at creating an outlet for the fluid, we fear that she may have been compromised in some ways having lived with the extra pressure for so long. We will keep you updated on her progress.