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Silent Suffering: Unknown Plight of Millions of Migrants

© REUTERS / Gonzalo FuentesA migrant sleeps next to tents installed in a street near the entrance of the reception center for migrants and refugees at porte de La Chapelle, north of Paris, France, July 6, 2017
A migrant sleeps next to tents installed in a street near the entrance of the reception center for migrants and refugees at porte de La Chapelle, north of Paris, France, July 6, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Europeans often fail to share the pain of migrants running away from war and famine. They often view them as just economic migrants looking for a better life in Europe, the organizers of an exhibition of photos made in South Sudan, the Mediterranean and Central America, told Sputnik.

The exhibition “Exodus: Life Stories of Refugees, Migrants and Displaced Persons,” organized by the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) humanitarian group, shows the plight of millions of people uprooted by conflicts in their homelands, which is being almost entirely ignored by mainstream media.

While the cases of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach European shores are more known to the broader public, the situation in South Sudan is not, photojournalist Anna Surinyach told Sputnik Mundo.

This photo taken on July 1, 2016 shows men and women waiting to be registered as displaced persons in a South Sudan Redcross compound in Wau, South Sudan - Sputnik International
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“That God-forsaken country is rarely mentioned in the news even though it has been in a state of civil war since 2013. There are many displaced people there who are stranded along the borders and forced to run away again when the conflict catches up with them,” she said.

“I met people there who had never stayed in one place for more than a year,” said Anna, the author of the photographs at the exhibition. The exhibition is currently taking place in Montevideo.

© Photo : Anna Surinyach/MSFDisplaced persons remain in camps where they have to live in inhuman conditions. South Sudan, November 2015.
Displaced persons remain in camps where they have to live in inhuman conditions. South Sudan, November 2015. - Sputnik International
Displaced persons remain in camps where they have to live in inhuman conditions. South Sudan, November 2015.

The situation in South Sudan, where civil war is well into its fourth year, is nothing short of a catastrophe.

© Photo : Anna Surinyach/MSFThe Mediterranean Sea – one of the most dangerous migration routes around with more than 5,000 people having drowned in 2016 alone.
The Mediterranean Sea – one of the most dangerous migration routes around with more than 5,000 people having drowned in 2016 alone. - Sputnik International
The Mediterranean Sea – one of the most dangerous migration routes around with more than 5,000 people having drowned in 2016 alone.

An estimated 1.5 million have fled the oil-rich but impoverished East African state to neighboring Uganda since the armed conflict between the forces of President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar flared up in 2013.

© Photo : Anna Surinyach/MSFThree women carry water in a displaced persons camp in Melut, South Sudan.
Three women carry water in a displaced persons camp in Melut, South Sudan. - Sputnik International
Three women carry water in a displaced persons camp in Melut, South Sudan.

Anna Surinyach said that she would never forget the tragedy that befell the country’s second largest city of Malakal. The city’s destruction forced  150,000 of its residents to flee to refugee camps where they live under “inhuman conditions.”

“To see an African city of 150,000 people absolutely deserted with burned down houses and dead bodies strewn in the streets was a sight I will never forget,” Anna said.

© Photo : Anna Surinyach/MSFUpper Nile State. South Sudan, November 2015.
Upper Nile State. South Sudan, November 2015. - Sputnik International
Upper Nile State. South Sudan, November 2015.

She added that many in Europe simply do not know where these migrants come from, why they fled their native countries and what is going on there.

Many believe that these people have come to “take away” their jobs.

“These people are not going to take away anyone’s job. They would have never risked their lives crossing the sea if they hadn’t  realized the real danger to themselves and their families,” Anna emphasized.

© Photo : Anna Surinyach/MSFDignity I, an MSF rescue boat brought 103 people ashore at Trapani, Sicily, on July 9, 2015.
Dignity I, an MSF rescue boat brought 103 people ashore at Trapani, Sicily, on July 9, 2015. - Sputnik International
Dignity I, an MSF rescue boat brought 103 people ashore at Trapani, Sicily, on July 9, 2015.

The exhibition also documents the pain and hardship suffered by migrants from Central America who try to make their way into the United States.

David Cantero Perez, the director of the MSF’s South American office, told Sputnik that these people are often treated as economic migrants.

© Photo : Anna Surinyach/MSFMigrants from Central America traveling on trains in Mexico are exhausted by their long travel and often fall victim to violence. MSF is there to help.
Migrants from Central America traveling on trains in Mexico are exhausted by their long travel and often fall victim to violence. MSF is there to help. - Sputnik International
Migrants from Central America traveling on trains in Mexico are exhausted by their long travel and often fall victim to violence. MSF is there to help.

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“Some of them are economic migrants, but for the most part these are people running away from criminal gangs in their own countries,” Perez explained.

The “Exodus…” exhibition is an attempt to draw a line between refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants.

“The world is neither white nor black. Not all people who are seen as economic migrants happen to be such and the exhibition is meant to show exactly what these people go through on their way to safety and what is really happening in the countries they come from,” Anna Surinyach concluded.

© Photo : Anna Surinyach/MSFSuchiate River on Mexico’s border with Guatemala. Migrants from Central America crossing the river at El Paso del Coyote in small boats at the start of their journey across Mexico.
Suchiate River on Mexico’s border with Guatemala. Migrants from Central America crossing the river at El Paso del Coyote in small boats at the start of their journey across Mexico. - Sputnik International
Suchiate River on Mexico’s border with Guatemala. Migrants from Central America crossing the river at El Paso del Coyote in small boats at the start of their journey across Mexico.
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