By Katia Gibergues-Newton, Refugees International Intern
Mark Yarnell, RI's advocate for the Horn of Africa, appeared on Capitol Hill following his recent mission to Kenya and Ethiopia. He told members of Congress that political leverage (not just aid money) is needed to ensure Somali refugees get the help they need.
As Mark told members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives, "where we do have control, and where we do have access, it is our responsibility to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are being met."
This week, the Washington Post published a poll showing that the U.S. Congress has set a new record for disapproval. A whopping 84 percent of Americans do not approve of the way Congress is doing its job. Media coverage of the House and Senate highlights the brinksmanship and polarized politicking that seems to surround every piece of legislation – and now, even routine nominations and confirmations.
As the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence drew to a close last week, we were proud to see two members of Congress - one a Republican, one a Democrat - raise their voices on this vital issue.
The first, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) told the House of Representatives, "My grandmother used to tell me that you never hurt somebody you claim you love. As the leader of the free world, it is critical that the United States promotes this simple truth throughout this country and other countries."