BLOG

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.

September 03, 2014 Jeff Crisp Africa, Israel, Syria, Asia, Middle East, Protection & Security

“Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” In just 15 words, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights makes it very clear that people whose life and liberty are at risk in their homeland should be able to leave it and find safe refuge in another state.

But as with many other rights that are spelled out in the Universal Declaration, the right to seek asylum is routinely denied to many people who should be able to benefit from it. 

August 25, 2014 Guest Africa, Somalia, Middle East, Protection & Security

In November of 2013, the government of Saudi Arabia began expelling large numbers of foreign nationals, including some 550,000 Yemenis, 180,000 Ethiopians, and 36,000 Somalis. While there has been little international attention or condemnation of these deportations, the returning individuals and their countries of origin have suffered many logistical, economic, and social ramifications due to this decision.

August 19, 2014 Daryl Grisgraber Lebanon, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security

During RI's recent visit to Lebanon, the conflict in Syria leaked over in one of the most dangerous ways yet: militants out of Syria clashed with Lebanese military forces in the border town of Arsal. The humanitarian community in Lebanon frantically tried to think of every possible way to get aid to those trapped there.

August 15, 2014 Michel Gabaudan Iraq, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security

During the past two weeks on Mt. Sinjar, we have seen both the worst and the best of what humanity can do.

August 14, 2014 Ann Hollingsworth Lebanon, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

As we moved through the women’s community center near Beirut, we noticed a woman in her late forties, a Syrian refugee, in the workshop area. The walls were surrounded by ongoing and completed jewelry and craft projects, which the community center helps to sell to benefit the women who create them.

August 06, 2014 Daryl Grisgraber Lebanon, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

It’s Sunday morning in Beirut, and it’s quiet except for the bells of the church down the street. This is normally a bustling, noisy neighborhood, and it’s a nice change to be sitting here in a café when the day has not yet begun in earnest.

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.