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April 16, 2014 Jeff Crisp Africa, Egypt, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

Like most buildings on the seafront in Alexandria, Egypt’s second city, the Nady el Togoreen or “Accountants Club” has seen better days. The concrete is crumbling, the paint is flaking, and the club’s two outdoor swimming pools have long since been emptied of water. Now they are filled with broken deck chairs and sunloungers.

April 10, 2014 Daryl Grisgraber Africa, Egypt, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security, Women & Children

Today, I spent the afternoon with a group of Syrian refugee women living here in Cairo. Some of them were considered vulnerable by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and were able to get small amounts of aid for food and rent. Many had children who dropped out of school in Egypt in order to provide for their families. Most had husbands in Syria whom they worried about constantly. All were hoping to go somewhere besides Egypt, but were losing faith that it could really happen.

April 08, 2014 Diliana Markova Syria, Turkey, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security

Despite some improvements in early 2013, which I described on this site last month, the situation of refugees in Bulgaria continues to raise concerns.

March 31, 2014 Daryl Grisgraber Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

The image of a crowded, dusty camp – full of tents and largely devoid of plant life – is probably what comes to mind immediately when you hear the word "refugee." You might think of Kenya’s Dadaab camp, which is currently the largest refugee settlement in the world, or of 80s-era photos of the Sudanese who fled to Ethiopia. You might even picture recent scenes from Zaatari, the camp in northern Jordan that is home to almost 100,000 Syrians who arrived in the past couple of years.

March 27, 2014 Jeff Crisp Africa, Egypt, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

While a great deal of international attention has been given to the massive number of Syrian refugees who have crossed into Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, it is often forgotten that many Syrians – up to 300,000 according to some estimates – have made the somewhat longer journey to the nearby state of Egypt.

March 21, 2014 Daryl Grisgraber Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

Last week saw the start of a fourth year of conflict in Syria. Some of the primary markers of this event include a death toll approaching 150,000; fully half of Syria’s entire population in need of humanitarian aid; and 2.5 million Syrian refugees living in nearby countries, afraid to return, with more arriving every day. In addition, the UN’s financial requirements for providing lifesaving assistance to Syrians – both inside and outside the country – have risen to an astonishing $6.5 billion for 2014 alone.

March 19, 2014 Sarnata Reynolds Kuwait, Middle East, Statelessness

On March 2, a 14-year-old boy named Ali Habib was put in a Kuwaiti jail and charged with disturbing the peace. He had been arrested while participating in a peaceful demonstration for the right to citizenship, one of many in a decades-long movement demanding that Kuwait’s stateless people, called the bedoon, be recognized as citizens. 

After two days Ali was released, but eight other stateless activists remain in jail on trumped-up charges including participating in an “illegal gathering” and “damaging police property.”

March 06, 2014 Diliana Markova Syria, Turkey, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

In the second half of 2013, Bulgaria, the poorest member of the European Union, saw an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers, most of them Syrians fleeing conflict through Turkey. The pace of arrivals quickly picked up, and by the end of the year the country, which usually sees less than 1,500 asylum seekers a year, was confronted with more than 7,000.

February 06, 2014 Jeff Crisp Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security

Refugee resettlement is in the news. At a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month, speakers from both ends of the political spectrum called on the country to admit some of the 2.3 million Syrians who have become refugees. “While the United States has led the world in resettling and providing humanitarian assistance to refugees from conflicts around the globe, we’ve not done enough to address the current Syrian crisis,” said Senator Dick Durbin.

January 30, 2014 Sarnata Reynolds Africa, Ethiopia - Eritrea, Israel, Middle East, Protection & Security

In January, tens of thousands of African asylum seekers and Israeli citizens demonstrated against the government's deeply flawed asylum policy. They railed against its refusal to consider applications for protection and its policy of indefinitely detaining asylum seekers without charge or cause. Thousands of asylum seekers walked out of their jobs in restaurants, hotels, and other businesses as a way of demonstrating their concrete value to Israeli society. Some of those same businesses even provided food to the demonstrators in a show of support.

January 02, 2014 Jeff Crisp Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Women & Children

The Syrian emergency has erupted with unprecedented speed and on a scale that no one envisaged when it began less than three years ago.

More than half of Syria’s population is now in need of humanitarian assistance. Six million people have been forced to abandon their homes but remain within the country. Well over two million have become refugees in other states.

December 20, 2013 Guest Africa, Ethiopia - Eritrea, Israel, Sudan, Middle East, Protection & Security
On the 16th of September 2013, the Israeli High Court of Justice invalidated the Prevention of Infiltration Act (Amendment no. 3), that allowed the incarceration of asylum seekers from Africa for up to three years. During the months following the decision, while authorities were working exceptionally slowly to release asylum seekers from prison, the Israeli Knesset started working on a new bill to replace the invalidated act. And in less than a month, its swift legislation process was over. 
December 12, 2013 Jeff Crisp Congress, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

When masses of refugees escape from one developing country and find sanctuary in another, they invariably place serious pressures on the people, land, environment, water supply, infrastructure, and public services of the areas where they settle. And yet the needs of refugee-hosting communities are all too often unrecognized and unmet.

This important gap in the humanitarian response to refugee emergencies is caused by a number of different factors.

December 05, 2013 Jeff Crisp Congress, Iraq, Syria, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

This blog first appeared in The Hill Congress Blog.

I first visited Domiz refugee camp in May 2013. Situated near the city of Dohuk in northern Iraq, and spread out over 1.5 million square meters of land which once housed an army base, the camp accommodates around 45,000 Syrian Kurds who have escaped from the conflict in their homeland, the border of which is just 70 kilometers away.

November 26, 2013 Elizabeth Galvi... Jordan, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security

A few days ago, we spent the day at Jordan’s Zaatari camp, as part of a team from Refugees International. We spoke to Syrians who had crossed the border on foot, people whose homes and bodies had been damaged by rockets, people who wanted to be relocated to Europe, and people who want to return to Syria but fear they never can.

November 22, 2013 Sarnata Reynolds Africa, Ethiopia - Eritrea, Israel, South Sudan, Sudan, Middle East, Statelessness

This week, Israel submitted a legal brief to the High Court of Justice stating that it would stop issuing birth certificates to the children of foreigners born in the country. This new policy is purportedly intended to prevent migrants from making a claim to citizenship based on birth in Israel (an impossibility as Israeli law does not provide for this benefit unless at least one parent is a citizen of Israel). However, it may have the unintentional consequence of creating new stateless populations.

November 14, 2013 Daryl Grisgraber Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Middle East

Two and a half years after the humanitarian crisis began, more Syrians than ever are displaced, either inside the country or in neighboring states. In the past six months, in particular, we’ve witnessed more and more desperate attempts by civilians to find safety beyond Syria’s borders.

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.