The sun is still rising in the Congolese sky, but Jean is already busy cleaning the small garden in front of his new house in Bili refugee camp. He greets me with a wide smile. After nearly two years on the run from violence in Central African Republic (CAR), he and his family are finally safe.
Jean, 38, his wife, 29-year-old Edwige, and their four surviving children are among the 800 refugees who have settled in Bili camp, near the northern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
As we sit down to talk, Jean recalls the exact day – 24 March 2013 – when he and his family first fled an attack on Bangui, their nation’s capital.
“My house was destroyed when the Séléka [rebels] arrived in Bangui,” he says. “I was there. There were many abuses and they set fires. I fled for the first time into the forest with my family, 40 kilometres away.”
After one month in the forest, they returned to Bangui, where Jean rebuilt their home and prayed for a lasting peace. But a few months later during a counterattack on the city, they had to flee again. It was Christmas Day, 2013.
The attack was so sudden that Edwige left one of their children behind as she ran out of the house. “The fear of the gunshots made her run away and she forgot the child just for a few minutes,” Jean explains. “The Sélékas killed our child. He was two years old. They threw his body away.”
Jean was desperate. “I said: ‘My Lord, where can I go to stay safe with my family?’”
Finally, after months on the run, surviving on little sleep or food, they found a way to cross into the DRC, over 400 kilometres upriver from their home in Bangui.
Jean’s family spent the next 11 months in an informal settlement close to the border before UNHCR brought them here to Bili as soon as the camp opened.
UNHCR opened Bili camp in March 2015. Upon arrival, refugees receive shelter, food, sleeping mats and blankets, as well as other essential items, including mosquito nets treated with insecticide – malaria is rife in the area.
More than 90,000 refugees from CAR are now living in the DRC. Many reside in the five refugee camps – Mole, Boyabu, Zongo, Bili and Mboti – where UNHCR and its partners are providing emergency assistance.
Many of the refugees UNHCR spoke to say they expect the fighting in CAR to continue, causing further instability and displacement.
But Jean is optimistic, despite his ordeal. “I hope to return to CAR, because it is my country,” he says, with a hopeful smile. “I am waiting for the right time to go back home.”
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Australia for UNHCR follows the Australian Privacy Principles in handling personal information; we collect personal information about individuals including supporters, employees, contractors, volunteers, special representatives/delegates and job applicants. This information may be collected directly from you in person, by phone or email, on hard copy donation forms, via our website or social media. We may also collect your personal information from publically available sources or third parties.
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The personal information we collect and hold generally includes contact details (i.e. name, address, email and phone number), personal details including date of birth, and credit card or bank accounts details.
We use the personal information you provide us with for the purpose for which it was provided to us, other related purposes or as permitted or required by law. Generally we collect and use your personal information for:
As detailed below we also use your information in our marketing and fundraising activities, keeping you informed of our latest news, campaigns and appeals or about campaigns and appeals which may be of interest to you. We may also offer you the opportunity to participate in surveys carried out by Australia for UNHCR or its agents.
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Any personal contact information you provide to us may be disclosed, if appropriate, to third parties who provide services on our behalf. We may also disclose your personal information to our volunteers who assist with many of our events and administration duties.
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Other than as stated above, we will not share your personal information. However, it is possible, though unlikely, that we might be forced to disclose personal information in response to legal processes or when we believe in good faith that the law requires it, for example, in response to a court order, subpoena or a law enforcement agency's request.
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Australia for UNHCR will review, on a regular and ongoing basis, its collection and storage practices to ascertain how improvements to accuracy can be achieved. We may utilise the services of third parties in order to maintain accurate personal information. Where such disclosure is made, we take reasonable steps to require these organisations comply with the Australian Privacy Principles.
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No data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, Australia for UNHCR cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us over the internet, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your transmission, we make our best effort to try and ensure its security both on our systems and while in transit between our systems and the companies who provide us with various services. Third party service providers may use data centres overseas or be located overseas. If you do not wish to make your financial contribution online, please contact our Donor Care Team to receive a hard copy form; contact details are included at the bottom of this policy.
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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
A4U does not have an establishment in the European Union (EU), does not offer goods or services to individuals in the EU and does not monitor behaviour of individuals as far as their behaviour takes place in the EU. Individuals located in the EU should contact UNHCR’s National Representatives in their respective countries or via the global UNHCR website http://www.unhcr.org/
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