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Toxic Waste Trade 16
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
26 Nov 2014

A statue, the Monte Carlo of Leipzig as people call it, looks over New Lakeland. Right next to it, the central dump Cröbern, is one of Europe's biggest toxic waste dumps.

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Toxic Waste Trade 01
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

The BMG/SVG Naundorf "waste treatment plant" received over 40,000 tons of dangerous waste from the central Cröbern dump. There is to this day no trace the toxic waste said to have been re-routed there.

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Toxic Waste Trade 02
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

A member of local citizens' initiative who has filed a criminal complaint against S.D.R. Biotec has been fighting to expose and punish of the waste trade in the region for years. A farmer since 1991, in the former GDR he worked as an electronic engineer. He now keeps up the farm belonging to his parents.

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Toxic Waste Trade 03
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

An archive photo belonging to a former worker at S.D.R. Biotec in Pohritzsch shows how highly poisonous rubbish was simply mixed with sludge and other substances and relabeled.

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Toxic Waste Trade 04
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

A sign in Pohritzsch reads, "We welcome you to Saxony.“

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Toxic Waste Trade 06
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

A 55 year-old former worker at S.D.R. Biotec in Pohritzsch worked there from 2002 to 2012. He now suffers from Polyneuropathy, because he had been exposed for years to heavy metals (i.a. lead and mercury). He remembers relabeling the waste and loading it up on the trucks which brought it to the dumps.

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Toxic Waste Trade 07
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

The BMG/SVG Naundorf "waste treatment plant" received over 40,000 tons of dangerous waste from the central Cröbern dump. There is to this day no trace the toxic waste said to have been re-routed there.

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Toxic Waste Trade 08
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

A member of local citizens' initiative who has filed a criminal complaint against S.D.R. Biotec has been fighting to expose and punish of the waste trade in the region for years. A farmer since 1991, in the former GDR he worked as an electronic engineer. He now keeps up the farm belonging to his parents.

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Toxic Waste Trade 09
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

Sheep graze next to S.D.R. Biotec in Pohritzsch. The waste treatment plant lies right next to cultivated fields, orchards and seemingly idyllic private houses.

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Toxic Waste Trade 10
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

The S.D.R. Biotec waste treatment plant in Pohritzsch is closed now. A local citizens' initiative filed a criminal complaint that led to charges of particularly serious environmental crimes. Until now, no verdict has been issued.

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Toxic Waste Trade 11
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

Orchards cover the land near S.D.R. Biotec in Pohritzsch. The waste treatment plant lies right next to cultivated fields, orchards and seemingly idyllic private houses.

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Toxic Waste Trade 12
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

Delitzsch is a small town along the railroad line near Pohritzsch.

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Toxic Waste Trade 13
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

A 67 year-old inhabitant of Pohritzsch has been working for many years in Munich since he fled the GDR. After the fall of the Wall, he came back to East Germany and built a house in Pohritzsch. He is paraplegic.

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Toxic Waste Trade 14
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

An archive photo belonging to a former worker at S.D.R. Biotec in Pohritzsch shows how highly poisonous rubbish was simply mixed with sludge and other substances and relabeled.

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Toxic Waste Trade 15
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

An 68 year-old inhabitant of Pohritzsch has always been against the plant since she came to the area in 1995. She remembers how the trucks passing through came from everywhere: from France, Italy, Switzerland, Belarus. Her cats died, and she remembers that many dogs in Pohritzsch and the small town Brehna died as well. Samples from the soil in the area contained many heavy metals - including uranium.

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Toxic Waste Trade 17
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

A watchdog stands guard at S.D.R. Biotec in Pohritzsch.

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Toxic Waste Trade 18
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

An archive photo belonging to a former worker at S.D.R. Biotec in Pohritzsch shows how highly poisonous rubbish was simply mixed with sludge and other substances and relabeled.

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Toxic Waste Trade 20
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

An inhabitant of Brehna, a small town next to Pohritzsch, has lived in the area since 1960. In the former GDR he worked in power stations like Jänschwalde, Vetschau and Lübbenau. He remembers the abominable smell in Brehna when S.D.R. Biotec operated. But he says in the former GDR, the smell from the chemical factories in Bitterfeld was much worse.

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Toxic Waste Trade 21
Friedewald, Germany
By Isabell Zipfel
25 Nov 2014

The BMG/SVG Naundorf "waste treatment plant" received over 40,000 tons of dangerous waste from the central Cröbern dump. There is to this day no trace the toxic waste said to have been re-routed there.

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Palestine: When a School is Illegal
Khan al-Ahmar
By Vinciane Jacquet
14 Nov 2014

November 16, 2014
Khan al Ahmar, West Bank, Palestine

The Khan al-Ahmar School serves the children of the Jahalin Bedouin community in the West Bank and has been declared illegal by Israeli authorities. It is now facing possible demolition. Built in 2009, the school was constructed with mud and tires due to a lack of funds and an Israeli law that bans Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank from building structures made of cement. The children now attend school in poorly equipped classrooms with no heating, leaking ceilings, and little electricity. However, it is possible that even this primitive learning environment could be snatched from them at a moment's notice. Over 140 students are currently enrolled in the school. The nearest alternative school is located about 45 minutes away by car. The school's imminent demolition is part of a plan by Israeli authorities to displace the Jahalin Bedouin living in "Area C" of the occupied West Bank. The Khan Al-Ahmar School and Bedouin community is located in the Jerusalem periphery, between the Israeli settlements of Ma'ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. While the Jahalin Bedouin have a longstanding presence in this area (they settled in the area in 1948, after being evicted by Israel from their lands in the Negev desert), the community and school present an obstacle to Israel's planned settlement expansion and construction of the separation barrier. The community lives with the constant threat of displacement. Every year, the school administration goes to court in order to postpone the planned demolition of the school. This year they were lucky and the court sided with them. However, the order still stands and next year they may not be so lucky.

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'Consumer Protection' in the Islamic ...
Raqqa
By TTM Contributor 20
04 Nov 2014

November 4, 2014
Raqqa, Syria

The Islamic State "Control and Inspection Office" gather and destroy expired or illegally smuggled cosmetics, beauty products, food products, and detergents. The products were destroyed under the prerogative of consumer protection. Since seizing control of Raqqa and large areas of Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State has made a concerted effort to demonstrate an ability to govern the areas it controls.

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Spain's Southern Fortress: The Africa...
Melilla
By tclava
15 Jun 2014

TEXTLESS and SUBTITLED VIDEO AVAILABLE

By: Tomaso Clavarino

Mamadou sits on a rock, his eyes turned towards the sea, the hood on his head to protect him from the wind: here on mount Gurugu, the wind blows all day long. He is seventeen years old and comes from Mali, and since two months ago he has been one of about four-thousand inhabitants of what is a veritable tent city on the slopes of an impervious mountain, exposed to every kind of hardship. They survive with tents made of plastic bags and branches, blankets retrieved from garbage cans, small bonfires to keep warm, and nothing more. There’s no water on Gurugu.

Fleeing from war, poverty, violence and starvation, Mamadou had crossed Mauritania and Algeria before reaching this mountain that stands behind the Moroccan city of Nador and overlooking the Spanish enclave of Melilla, Europe’s back door into Africa. This is a real village nestled among the trees and clouds, a sea of makeshift tents, packed with migrants from nearly every corner of Sub Saharan Africa. There are Malians, Senegalese, Nigerians, Cameroonians, Liberians, Ghanaians, and all have arrived on Gurugu with a single goal: to jump the wall that divides Morocco from Melilla.

The wall is a triple barrier, 12 kilometers long and controlled by dozens of cameras. It is constantly patrolled both by the Moroccan police and the Spanish Guardia Civil, a seemingly impregnable fortress, but not for these people, on the run from a harsh life and dreaming of a better future. Three or four times a week migrants living on Gurugu descend the mountain in waves, trying to climb over the fence to reach Europe. Those who make it end up at the CETI (Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes), a first aid center on the verge of exploding with over two thousand people, crammed into a space conceived for four hundred and eighty, waiting to know their fate, while the others are hunted down by the Guardia Civil and returned immediately to Morocco where they are left in the hands of the Moroccan soldiers.

Returning these men to Morocco is “a clear violation of international law” according to José Palazon, an activist from Melilla. “[This] exposes migrants to violence in a country that doesn’t respect human rights,” he says. “Whenever there is an attempt to jump the wall hundreds of migrants are injured, not by the iron fences, but from the gunbarrels of the Moroccan police.”

Indeed the Moroccan police are one of the biggest fears of the migrants: both for those dwelling on Gurugu, and for countless others hiding in the forests and in the suburbs of Moroccan cities, all waiting to reach Europe. According to one estimate, there are around eighty-thousand sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco.

“Almost every day at dawn the Moroccan soldiers leave their base at the foot of Gurugu, come to our camp and destroy everything,” says Idriss, who can barely walk after being severely beaten. “They pull down the tents, set fire to them, throw away the food, steal the little money we have, our phones. If they can catch anyone, they arrest him and beat him, and then take him to Rabat. We fall over the cliffs, many of us fracture arms and legs, we are hurt and we have no medicine to treat us. Over the years we have stopped counting the dead.”

Mamadou bears the signs of his last beating on his left forearm, a large wound that has recently healed.

Only three or four girls have the courage to live on the mountain instead of joining the women and children hidden in the woods near Selouane, at the foot of the other side of the mountain. There, they wait to board small boats to reach Melilla’s beach. Not all migrants try to enter Melilla by jumping the wall. Those who do so are the most desperate, the ones who have spent all the money they had for the trip, money that was stolen by the police, by the mafias that here control the smuggling of migrants. Those who can afford to try to pass by sea, or by buying false passports. Others pay two thousand euros for a car ride. Not in the passenger seat, but In the false bottom of a car, near the engine, near the exhaust pipe.

“A huge risk,” Juan Antonio Martin Rivera, a lieutenant of the Guardia Civil, says. “These people remain without air and in a high temperature for hours. As far as we know, it is only here that migrants are trying to cross the border in this way.”

All these migrants have a dream: Europe. A Europe which, however, doesn’t want them, and turns a blind eye to the – both Moroccan and Spanish – violence as many NGOs point out. It was only two months ago that the Civil Guard, under pressure from NGOs, local associations and the press, decided to abandon the rubber bullets that over the years have seriously injured hundreds of migrants.

According to Abdelmalik El Barkawi, delegate of the Spanish Government in Melilla, “the enclave is facing an unprecedented migratory pressure” and perhaps this is why the Government of Mariano Rajoy has said nothing about the new barrier that the Moroccan government has begun building around Melilla. According to Spanish newspapers, the dug-out barbed-wire-filled trench has been financed with part of the fifty-million euros that Spain requested from the EU in order to strengthen its borders.

“These reports were first confirmed and then denied by the government in Madrid,” said Father Esteban Velazquez, a Jesuit priest who is among the few to provide assistance to migrants on the Moroccan side.

Left to themselves, trapped at the gates of Europe, and helpless victims of ongoing violence, sub-Saharan migrants who do finally make it to Spain are deported illegally, according to Tereza Vazquez Del Rey, a lawyer at CEAR, the Spanish Commission for Aid to Refugees.
“When a migrant is able to pass the first barrier, he is formally in Spanish territory and therefore can’t be brought back to Morocco,” she said. “He has the right to have a lawyer and a translator. He can apply for asylum and can’t be deported to a country where his life is endangered.”

A hundred kilometers from Nador and Melilla is the city of Oujda, a transit area for many migrants on the Algerian border. Here, life for sub-Saharan Africans appears to have improved since September 2013 when the Moroccan government decided to move migrants arrested in Nador to Rabat, rather than to Oujda.

“Previously violence by the police used to be [a daily occurrence]” said Abdullah, a 35 year-old from Burkina Faso. “Many people are starting to realize, after several failed attempts, that going to Europe is really too dangerous, and that it is not worth risking your life. So a hundred of us have applied for a residence permit in Morocco. We want to try to live and work here.”

The majority of the migrants in Oujda live at the FAC, a small sort of camp made up of tents set up in the Mohamed I University. They are helped by the students and the climate is quite calm. However journalists are not welcome here, as there the Nigerian mafia that controls the smuggling of migrants and women has a strong presence in the camp.

So why is the situation for migrants so different between Oujda and Nador?

Father Esteban Velazquez has no doubt: “Because in Nador, and in nearby Beni Ensar, there is the frontier, and the Spanish government has delegated the role of the sheriff to the Moroccan police,” he said.

Violence, mafia, arrests, nothing seems to be able to blunt the will power of these people, of these migrants who have spent five years of their lives hiding in Morocco and trying to pass the wall of Melilla.

“A friend of mine, Moussa, was here on Gurugu for five years, and has tried sixty-seven times to jump over the wall,” Ibrahim said while playing cards in a tent used as a casino on the slopes of Gurugu. “The sixty-eighth he made it. They can treat us like animals, beat us, steal everything from us, hurt us, even kill us, but they don’t know what we are running away from, and they don’t know how strong our desire is to reach Europe. Everyone here dreams of having a pair of wings, but if God wills it, sooner or later, even without them, we will make it.”

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Long Road Home 20
Poipet
By George Nickels
20 May 2014

Poipet, Cambodia. Cambodian families, fleeing Thailand, wait in immigration police vehicles. About 200,000 Cambodian migrants fled the country in the last week. The Thai military junta deny that it forced the Cambodians to leave.

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Long Road Home 21
Poipet
By George Nickels
20 May 2014

Poipet, Cambodia. A child in a Thai immigration police vehicle.

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Long Road Home
Poipet
By George Nickels
20 May 2014

Poipet, Cambodia. Cambodian families get out of Thai immigration police vehicles as they arrive at the Thai-Cambodia border town of Poipet.

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Long Road Home 22
Poipet
By George Nickels
20 May 2014

Poipet, Cambodia. Cambodian families get out of Thai immigration police vehicles as they arrive at the Thai-Cambodia border town of Poipet.

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The Battle for the Red Light District
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
09 Apr 2014

Chrystal prepares her room for her next customer. She says she would not want to work behind a legal window because the rental prices are too high. People fear that closing many of the Red Light District's windows will force prostitutes to work in underground networks, where they could be subjected to exploitation and even slavery. Gijs Goosen, a city official in charge of the 1012 Project disagree. 'I believe the pimps will leave the Netherlands to work elsewhere in Europe'.

Project 1012 is named after the postal code of the Red Light District. It aims to clean-up the Red-Light District and stopping the influence of organized crime in the area. It also plans the closure of hundreds of window brothels and cannabis coffeeshops by 2015. This project is is the city’s response to reports documenting human trafficking and the growing influence of organized crime in downtown Amsterdam.

With this project, the city plans to close all businesses unable to prove they are not criminal organizations. Property owners refusing to leave will be expropriated and their properties will be bought by the city to be replaces with boutiques, galleries, restaurants and bars. So far, 109 window brothels have been closed and about 100 more are awaiting for closure. Brothels and shop owners are fighting back in court.

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Tin Fever in Indonesia 33
By Steven Wassenaar
17 Mar 2014

Fondy (51 years) is a contracter working for PT Timah, his mine produces 60 tons of tin a month. He hopes to be able to produce 80-100 tons next year. The Pemali mine, the biggest legal mine in Bangka that has completely devastated the once green landscape. Operated by PT-Timah, it produces 60 tons of tin per month. Bangka Island (Indonesia) is devastated by illegal tin mines. The demand for tin has increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets.

Fondy (51 ans) est un sous-traitant, travaillant pour PT Timah, sa mine produit 60 tonnes d'étain par mois, il espère atteindre 80-100 tonnes l'année prochaine. Mine de Pemali, plus grande mine légale de Bangka. Exploité par PT-Timah. Elle produit 60 tonnes d'étain par mois. L'île de Bangka (Indonésie) est dévastée par des mines d'étain. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes.

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Kazakh Dissident's Family Deportation...
Astana, Kazakhstan
By BILO
06 Aug 2013

Interview with Erlan Idrissov, Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Erlan Idrissov is a skilled diplomat. He served as Kazakh Ambassador in London and in Washington and now is the head of the Kazakh diplomatic service in Astana. In this exclusive interview he accuses Ablyazov of being a criminal and gives the official position of its government on the whole story.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
15 Jun 2013

Yop's life (random name), a Christian woman aged 45, changed when she refused the marriage proposal from a Muslim man working with her. Since that moment, he started threatening her and her family and he turned their lives into hell when she decided to marry another man. Thanks to his contacts, her harasser made her and her husband to be imprisoned and her nephew killed. The whole family left the country in December 2011 and traveled to Bangkok where they got the refugee status.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
14 Jun 2013

Sarah (random name) left Democratic Republic of Congo after being threatened for defending women rights in the country. She decided to leave when the government killed two of her colleagues from the NGO she was working for. She has been recognized as refugee in Bangkok but she does not qualify for UNHCR assistance as she makes some money selling jewelry and scarfs.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible ...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
14 Jun 2013

Shakila (random name) belongs to the Ahmadiyya minority, an Islamic reformist movement persecuted in Pakistan. She fled her country in December 2012 with her 32-years old son who was threatened for working with an Ahmadi company. She lives now in Bangkok and she waits to get the refugee status.

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The struggle of immigrant single-moth...
Bangkok, Thailand.
By Biel Calderon
10 Jun 2013

The iconic image of refugees that we usually have in mind is a row of tents in a sprawling emergency camp. But reality tells us that refugees are increasingly moving to large towns and cities. More than over half the world’s refugees live in large towns and cities where they suffer from harsh living conditions, with a lack of security and an increasing poverty.

Thailand is a hot spot for urban refugees. One of the reasons why the number keeps increasing is the relative easinness to enter the country. But the conditions of life awaiting them are far from the idilic idea that some displaced people may build in their minds. Urban refugees in Thailand face a harsh reality, without any legal right to work and a lack of access to basic services, such as healthcare and education.

Bangkok hosts around 2,600 refugees and asylum seekers from more than 40 countries. They hope to find a sense of community, safety and economic independence, but what they find is fear of detention and deportation, exploitation and abuse.

Among them, we find a specially vulnerable group: single-mother refugees who came to Thailand either with their family or alone. They are often denied the necessary legal rights to participate in the mainstream economy and are thus pushed underground, into informal jobs. There, they face extortion, exploitation, abuse (risk of sexual and gender-based violence) and arrest.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
09 Jun 2013

Abida, 53, belongs to the Ahmadiyya minority, an Islamic reformist movement persecuted in Pakistan. She left her country in 2009 with her three children after being attacked in their home-town, Gujrat. She is now waiting in Bangkok to travel to Canada, where she will be resettled.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
08 Jun 2013

Pendeza (random name), 31, was detained and tortured in Democratic Republic of Congo because of the tie of her husband with a tribal guerrilla. She arrived in Bangkok in November 2012 after having travelled through Rwanda and Kenya. She lives with her baby son as an asylum seeker, waiting to be recognized as refugee.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
08 Jun 2013

Maria Teresa (random name), 36, fled Angola in 2009 escaping from local authorities who threatened her life. In 2008, the government expropriated her house and detained her during a demonstration. Now she lives in Bangkok with her 2 years-old daughter, where she has initiated the process to get the refugee status.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Shoba (random name), 35, left Sri Lanka in August 2009, two months after the end of the civil war with the Tamil guerrilla. Her husband disappeared in July 2009 after being accused of helping the guerrilla. Already recognized as a refugee, she lives now in Bangkok with her children, while waiting to be resettled.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Muna (random name), 39, lost the favour of her family after marrying a man from another tribal clan in Somalia. When her husband disappeared in 2010 both her family and her husband´s family tried to kill her. She fled in July 2011 and travelled to Bangkok but she had to leave her four children in her country. As a refugee, she started the process to be resettled.