Although expressing fear about security at home, the Embera people said lack of their traditional foodstuffs and inadequate health services in the receiving communities compelled them to go back – despite the fact that authorities provided basic emergency assistance. They are among millions of people who have been displaced over the past 15 years by Colombia’s long-running civil war. “Precarious security conditions in the region of return are cause for deep concern because the irregular armed groups whose clashes caused the Embera to flee in the first place remain in the area,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva.“UNHCR has urged the Colombian authorities to give the utmost attention to the security of these Embera communities and has asked them to ensure the provision of promised aid, including building materials, seeds and boat repairs,” she added.UNHCR staff continues to monitor these groups, travelling to villages by boat on the Atrato River, she said.The agency has recently expressed serious concern over the impact of the war on indigenous communities. Thousands of indigenous people have been displaced and some of their leaders have been murdered or have disappeared. Earlier this month, UNHCR began a social project with local spiritual leaders to try to halt a spate of suicides among the young who were losing the will to live because of the war.Indigenous organizations say all of Colombia’s more than 80 indigenous groups are now at risk because of the conflict. Elders are particularly concerned that indigenous youth are vulnerable to recruitment by the country’s irregular armed groups.
2015 Brock finalist: Mikel Ghelfi, Trimbach, Switzerland (PhD student, Chemistry) Brock University’s 2015 3MT finalistsBrock’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) finals were held last month as part of the 10th annual Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research Conference.The 3MT® contest encourages students to talk about their research and explain why it matters in a way that will inform and captivate people outside of their disciplines. The challenge is that this must be accomplished in three minutes or less, while using only one PowerPoint slide.Watch all of the videos from the five finalists listed below by CLICKING HERE2015 Brock champion: Matthew Nikitczuk, St. Catharines (Master’s student, Earth Sciences)Matthew’s research focuses on a particular type of micro-fossil that eats volcanic glass. The implications of the study allow for new insight into early life on earth, as well as beyond it.WATCH HERE2015 Brock runner-up: Natalie Trojanowski, Niagara Falls (Master’s student, Health Sciences)Natalie’s presentation focuses on the inefficiency of a specific protein within those suffering from muscular dystrophy. She will highlight how diet could be used to improve the efficiency of the protein and as a result conserve muscle strength in muscular dystrophy patients.WATCH HERE2015 Brock finalist: Hasam Madarati, Mississauga (Master’s student, Biotechnology)Hasam’s research focuses on studying wet, water-filled cells in the body responsible for transferring protein from one cell to another. He hopes to use this to better understand the intake of fatty foods and keep people healthy.WATCH HERE2015 Brock finalist: Emma Stares, Wellington, New Zealand (PhD student, Chemistry)Emma will present on improved MRI scans and her proposal to develop a new family of contrast agents that are safer for patients and will produce more early and accurate disease diagnosis.WATCH HERE Mikel is focusing on Vitamin E. Specifically, he will highlight a Vitamin E analogue he created that offers new insight into the movement and interaction the protein has with the cell membrane. The analogue is already gaining interest from brain disease researchers.WATCH HERE