Unprecedented humanitarian needs. Worldwide displacement at an all-time high. Throughout it all, Refugees International is there.
But make no mistake: What keeps Burundi “quiet” these days is not peace, but fear. And the need for a robust United Nations mission to protect Burundian civilians is as acute as ever.
Earlier today, the Kenyan government issued a deeply troubling statement on the closure of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. Citing national security concerns, Ministry of Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Eng Karanja Kibicho announced that “hosting of refugees has come to an end.” The statement is a major blow to the most basic fundamentals of refugee rights.
There are close to 60 million people currently displaced by war and persecution, the most since World War II. You have undoubtedly seen the media coverage of the crisis in the Mediterranean that illustrates the enormous challenges refugees face in trying to access protection and assistance. Advocating for life-saving protection for refugees and displaced people has been Refugee International’s mission for more than 35 years. However, at a time when the humanitarian system is near breaking and countries are struggling to meet the protection and assistance needs of millions of people fleeing war and persecution, I am deeply concerned that the U.S. and world leaders are not fully confronting the potential impact of climate change on displacement and migration, and the threat it presents to human security.
Refugees International's 37th Anniversary Dinner took place at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on April 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. Sir Richard Branson was awarded RI's highest humanitarian award, the McCall-Pierpaoli Award. The Congressional Leadership Award was presented to Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and the Richard C. Holbrooke Award was presented to Ukrainian humanitarian Olena Honcharova.