BLOG

November 06, 2014 Guest Iraq, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security

In early 2014, during peace talks facilitated by the United Nations and the Arab League, the Syrian government and opposition groups reached an agreement to allow some civilians to evacuate the city of Homs after being trapped for more than a year and a half. They also agreed to the delivery of desperately-needed aid. Food supplies had drastically depleted inside the city in the previous months, and families had resorted to eating wild plants and small amounts of insect-infested grains. 

October 20, 2014 Daryl Grisgraber Congress, Iraq, Syria, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security

In the center of Erbil, northern Iraq, just next to a highway overpass, we met Yezin and his family – refugees from the fighting in neighboring Syria. Nasser himself didn’t get up to greet us. He had been wounded in a mortar attack on his Syrian hometown of Aleppo. The field surgery he had received left a metal plate in his leg that doesn’t allow him to stand or walk on his own any longer. He and his family of seventeen are now living in an abandoned construction lot in Erbil, where it has been hard for humanitarian agencies to find and help them.

September 30, 2014 Guest Syria, Turkey, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Women & Children

When Faud al-Shiekh Sanaa, a gaunt master teacher from Aleppo, made his way to Turkey with throngs of other refugees from Syria in July 2012, he immediately set about registering children for school. Classes back home would have started in September, and there was little time to waste.

By November, with backing from international and Turkish charities, the governor of Kilis Province had presided over the opening of the “Culture Center for Syrians.”

September 25, 2014 Daryl Grisgraber Iraq, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security, Women & Children

The humanitarian situation in Iraq is once again deteriorating. The siege of Amirli, the humanitarian airdrops to Sinjar – with people so desperate to get out that they fled into Syria – and now Western and Arab airstrikes, have kept all eyes on this tumultuous part of the Middle East.

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.