BLOG

November 20, 2014 Guest Climate Displacement, Americas, Asia

Earlier this year, many heralded New Zealand’s grant of asylum to a family from the low-lying Pacific island nation of Tuvalu as the first legal recognition of “climate refugees.” This was not the case. While the applicants claimed that they would be victim to the impacts of climate change if returned to their country, the tribunal explicitly refrained from ruling on this matter and granted the family's appeal on unrelated humanitarian grounds.

September 15, 2014 Alice Thomas Africa, Climate Displacement, Kenya, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Americas, Asia, Middle East

On September 21, thousands of people will come together in New York City to demand action on global climate change. The People’s Climate March, which comes in advance of the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23, will not only be the largest climate march in history, but also the most diverse.

September 15, 2014 Jeff Crisp Africa, Iraq, Syria, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Asia, Middle East

“This policy calls for UNHCR to pursue alternatives to camps whenever possible. Compliance with this policy is mandatory.” Those words are taken from a policy statement prepared by UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. Approved by High Commissioner António Guterres on July 22, 2014, the document has curiously not been placed in the public domain, nor have UNHCR’s key partners – donor states, other UN agencies, and NGOs – been informed of its existence. But Refugees International has gained access to a leaked copy.

July 28, 2014 Jeff Crisp Africa, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Asia, Protection & Security

In Australia, the navy is intercepting boats in international waters and incarcerating asylum seekers in floating prisons.  In Kenya, the government is deporting refugees to Somalia, despite the continued armed conflict and the increasingly serious drought in that country. Sudan has recently returned a group of refugees to Eritrea, one of the most authoritarian countries in the world. And the United States is refusing to admit many Mexican children who arrive at its border, despite mounting evidence that they are escaping from life-threatening and gang-related violence.

July 14, 2014 Sarnata Reynolds Congress, U.S. Administration, Americas, Neglected Crises, Protection & Security

More than 90,000 unaccompanied children are expected to arrive at the U.S. border this year. More than 20,000 of them will be of Mexican origin, but because they are being summarily turned around at the border little is known about their decision to undertake the journey alone, or the circumstances under which they traveled.

May 23, 2014 Sarnata Reynolds Congress, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Neglected Crises

My colleague Garrett Bradford and I are currently in Mexico, where we are meeting with people displaced by organized crime, gangs, and other armed actors throughout the country, including in Tijuana, Mexico City, Veracruz, and Sinaloa. No one knows how many people have been forced to leave their homes in Mexico due to extortion, kidnapping, forced disappearances, or murders, but it is widely reported to be more than 100,000 people. 

December 09, 2013 Alice Thomas Climate Displacement, Americas

Two weeks ago, the High Court of New Zealand rejected a Kiribati man’s request for asylum as a “climate change refugee.” Ione Teitiota argued that he should be entitled to protection as a refugee because rising sea levels and environmental hazards caused by climate change were endangering his life on Kiribati, a low-lying island nation in the South Pacific. 

November 08, 2013 Marcy Hersh Africa, DR Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Asia, Middle East, Women & Children

There is always a convenient excuse. In Haiti, we don't have the time. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we don't have the funding. In the Syrian refugee response, we don't have the experts. Somehow, there is always a pat answer to why we, the humanitarian community, fail to protect women and girls in emergency after emergency.

October 21, 2013 Alice Thomas Africa, Climate Displacement, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Asia, Middle East

Tomorrow at 6pm Eastern time, I’ll be participating in “24 Hours of Reality,” the third annual live-streamed show organized by the Climate Reality Project, founded by former Vice President Al Gore.

October 07, 2013 Guest Climate Displacement, Haiti, Americas, Humanitarian Response

It’s been over three years since the earthquake in Haiti devastated the capital Port-au-Prince, killing an estimated 230,000 people and leaving 1.2 million homeless.

October 04, 2013 Jamie Armstrong Dominican Republic, Haiti, Americas, Statelessness, Women & Children

Juliana Dequis Pierre is 29 years old and lives in Yamasa in the Dominican Republic (DR). She attended school until the fifth grade but cannot read. Juliana has four children and works as a maid, earning the equivalent of $140 a week. And as of two weeks ago, she is stateless.

May 31, 2013 Alice Thomas Africa, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Climate Displacement, Colombia, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, Thailand, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Asia, Middle East

Right now, the shell-shocked residents of Moore, Oklahoma, are grappling with the loss of 24 lives and the destruction of entire neighborhoods following a devastating tornado on May 20. Meanwhile, across the globe, tens of thousands of people in Bangladesh and Burma are returning to damaged homes and villages in the wake of Cyclone Mahasen, which thankfully proved more merciful than anticipated.

May 13, 2013 Guest Haiti, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Women & Children

Three decades ago, the Center for Disease Control famously created its own “4H Club” to signify the four groups most at-risk for HIV/AIDS: homosexuals, hemophiliacs, heroin users, and Haitians. For Haiti, the implications of the label were particularly high – a dramatic dip in tourism, a near halt of foreign importing of Haitian goods, and, fueled by subsequent poverty, a heightened prevalence rate among Haitians.

May 01, 2013 Guest Africa, Americas, Asia, Middle East, Women & Children

Last month, flanked by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura on one side and spokesperson Angelina Jolie on the other, and with members of the G8 group of nations fanning out in support from behind, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague stood at a press podium to deliver a pledge on behalf of the G8 group of ministers to “end sexual violence in conflict.” 

April 17, 2013 Guest Africa, Burkina Faso, Climate Displacement, Colombia, Mali, Niger, Pakistan, Americas, Asia

Crisis after crisis, natural and climate change-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and storms have displaced people from their homes in countries around the world. Though a causal link between any weather event and climate change is difficult to prove, climatologists have long believed that climate change will result in an increase in extreme weather events. Floods, droughts, and storms almost always impact the lives of individuals, forcing them to flee their homes as a result of safety or reduced food supply, among other factors.

January 08, 2013 Alice Thomas Africa, Burkina Faso, Climate Displacement, Mali, Niger, Americas, Asia, Middle East

The day Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast, I was in Mali, a country in West Africa’s Sahel region. As a native New Yorker, I was stunned and dismayed to see pictures of the flooded streets and tunnels of Manhattan, of destroyed homes and schools on Staten Island, and of thousands of my fellow New Yorkers displaced and in shelters. But I was even more struck by the indiscriminate nature of what I was witnessing both in Mali (one of the world’s poorest countries) and the United States (one of its richest): massive humanitarian emergencies resulting from more extreme weather.

December 10, 2012 Avy Mallik Americas, Asia, Statelessness

Exactly one year ago, a historic summit took place in Geneva on the rights of refugees and stateless people. On December 9, 2011, the United States and 154 other nations met to discuss the importance of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions. But what made the conference historic was not the debate, but the pledges.

September 20, 2012 Michelle Brown Africa, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Asia, Middle East, Protection & Security

As the 67th General Assembly opens this week, and as the United Nations gears up for the countless high-level meetings and side events that follow, the enormity of the challenges facing the UN is striking.