Peacekeeping: April 3, 2005


The main reason peacekeepers exist is to allow people who have fled their homes, and sundry forms of violence, to return home. There are currently some 25 million such refugees around the world. About half are in Africa. Last year, another three million refugees were created, a third of them in the Darfur region of western Sudan. About three million people were able to return home worldwide, mainly in Angola and Liberia. When people are forced to flee, they experience a sharp drop in their standard of living. Most refugees become dependent on food aid from foreign donors or local government. But millions die from starvation, disease and violence anyway. The refugees also attract bandits, who often double as rebels or government troops fighting over whatever caused the violence that created the refugee situation in the first place. Peacekeepers often find themselves walking into a Wild West type situation, where lots of guns and desperate people produce a very volatile atmosphere. 




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