Tuesday 30 September 2008

Mary in Uganda for Danish Refugee Council

Crown Princess Mary is currently on a 4-day visit to Uganda as the patron of the Danish Refugee Council. After 21 years of war in the region (see Lord's Resistance Army - LRA), the Danish Refugee Council has been working in the northern part of Uganda to assist rebuilding communities of people who have been pushed out of their homes because of many years of brutal treatment - these people are referred to as Internal Displaced Persons. Africa has around 12 million internally displaced refugees and so is in need of help from the international community. On her first day in Uganda on Monday, Mary visited the TASO kindergarten at Mulago Hospital. She was formally given a dancing greeting and met hospital officials with the Danish contingent on the trip with her, including Uganda-based Royal Danish Embassy officials. Here she met with the children and the workers who care for the children while their parents are getting treatment and counselling at the hospital. Some of the children are infected with HIV. Today Mary has now travelled north to Gulu where the Danish Refugee Council has been working for some years to assist refugees to return to their villages and communities in a secure environment and able to engage in sustainable agriculture.

At the TASO kindergarten at the Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Monday September 29:

Today Mary is in the northern part of Uganda visiting Sudanese refugees ...more to come:

Photos © Tarriq Mikkel Khan/POLFOTO/Fyen Stifts, TV2/Scanpix

Information about the Danish Refugee Council's work in northern Uganda Protection and Durable Solutions for Refugees and IDPs in Uganda

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark - Royal Visit in Uganda
Danish Refugee Council press release (in Danish)
Crown Princess Mary to Uganda with Danish Refugee Association
In her capacity as patron for the Danish Refugee Council, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary travels to Uganda on Sunday 28 September. The Crown Princess will, amongst other things, visit refugees and displaced people in their camps.
This year, since February, northern Uganda has experienced peace for the first time in 21 years. An agreement between the government and the rebel movement 'Lord's Resistance Army', together with calmer conditions in the south of the Sudan has meant that the inhabitants now live without the same fear of attacks from robbers, of kidnappings and violence.
During this time of relative safety, the fugitives have slowly started to return to their former home. Her Royal Highness will meet with refugee children who do not know of a life outside the camps. The Crown Princess will have the opportunity to talk with families who have lost everything, and see some living conditions that most Danes would have a hard time very imagining.
But the Crown Princess will also experience the way the Danish Refugee Council helps to enable a better life for the many refugees and displaced people, and amidst the very difficult circumstances encounter a budding hope of a new future - not least for the many thousands of refugee children.
The Danish Refugee Council's national collection on 9 November will focus on refugee children.
"There are 20 million children in the world who are refugees. They live with the fear of violence and the risk of being carried off and forced to become child soldiers. Many have got lost from their parents and siblings, and most suffer from malnutrition", communication chief in Danish Refugee Council, Mik Steenberger says.
The Danish Refugee Council works in 30 of the world's focus areas where refugees and other displaced people need acute relief and help to rebuild a life.

Jyllands Posten
Billed Bladet
Sunday Vision (Ugandan newspaper online)
Jyllands Posten 'Hiv-smittede børn slog ring om Mary' - HIV-infected children cast a ring about Mary
Published 29.09.08
Crown Princess Mary got an overwhelming warm welcome today when she visited the organization Taso which works for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda.
She had barely made her way into Taso's kindergarten before she was drawn close pulled down onto the floor by the children.
A little girl called Claire was the most enthusiastic who hugged herself simply and firmly to the Crown Princess' neck.
And during the visit in the kindergarten Mary in fact sat with an arm about one or more of the children.
The children, several of whom are infected with HIV/AIDS, stay in Taso's kindergarten during the day while their HIV-infected parents get counselling or treatment.
The reason the Crown Princess visits the centre on the first day of her visit in Uganda is in her role as patron for the Danish Refugee Council is serious.
1.1 million Ugandans, including 100,000 children below 18 years, are estimated to be been infected with HIV/AIDS. This corresponds to about 6.4 percent of the population.
This afternoon the crown princess flies for Gulu in the north of Uganda, where she will experience and see with her own eyes how Dansk Flygtningehjælp (Danish Refugee Council) helps refugees in the field. /Ritzau/

TV2 article (Sept 30)
Uganda slips 15 places in corruption ranking from Uganda's Daily Monitor Online. Denmark tops the world index of least corrupt countries, with New Zealand and Sweden.

Big topic, serious issues. Lots of informative links:
Danish Refugee Council
War and Displacement - International Red Cross
Refugees and internally displaced persons and international humanitarian law - International Red Cross
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) - Mary made a working visit to UNHCR HQ in Geneva late last year to familiarise herself with the issues of refugees internationally

TV2 article and news clip
TV2 news clip (02:15)
DR.dk news clip (03:02)

Fyens Stiftstidende photo gallery (Sept 29)
TV2 photo gallery (Sept 29)
Folketidende.dk photo gallery (Sept 30)
TV2 photo gallery (Sept 30)

Thanks Riki & gudinde & jema & cph!

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11:20 am  

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