December 03, 2014

 

EXODUS:  Three stories, three continents, but a shared motivation – to escape violence 

No matter where they are sheltering, they need help now. 

Today the international medical organization Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) launches Exodus, a web documentary about the refugees, displaced people and migrants who find themselves forced to leave their homes.

For the first time since the Second World War, the number of people around the world who have been forced from their homes has crossed the 50 million mark, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This includes many of the people whom MSF provides with medical aid — whether they are staying in a tent in a refugee camp, sheltering in a half-finished building, or sleeping out in the bush.

 

Different contexts, common challenges

“People fleeing violence have had all sorts of different experiences, but they have something in common,” says Joan Tubau, MSF general director in Barcelona. “All have lived in an environment dominated by cruelty and brutality.”

Exodus focuses on three subjects: The Syrian war, which has seen three million people flee the country; the conflict in South Sudan, with its disastrous effects on communities already suffering a humanitarian crisis; and on the Central Americans attempting to reach the United States in order to escape the violent gang culture in their home countries, but who often find their journeys beset by further violence.

 

Telling the stories of people fleeing violence

Through a combination of written narrative, video and photography, the three stories show the shared plight of people escaping conflict and violence across the world. While they take place in very different contexts and political environments, it is impossible not to draw parallels between them.

“Refugees, internally displaced people, forced migrants: These are all terms that we use, but the suffering of people fleeing violence can’t be categorized,” says Tubau. “For MSF, their legal status makes no difference: They are escaping from war and violence, and too often they are abandoned to their fate.”

 

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