Three decades ago, the Center for Disease Control famously created its own “4H Club” to signify the four groups most at-risk for HIV/AIDS: homosexuals, hemophiliacs, heroin users, and Haitians. For Haiti, the implications of the label were particularly high – a dramatic dip in tourism, a near halt of foreign importing of Haitian goods, and, fueled by subsequent poverty, a heightened prevalence rate among Haitians.
This post originally appeared on UN Dispatch.
Last month, flanked by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura on one side and spokesperson Angelina Jolie on the other, and with members of the G8 group of nations fanning out in support from behind, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague stood at a press podium to deliver a pledge on behalf of the G8 group of ministers to “end sexual violence in conflict.”
Crisis after crisis, natural and climate change-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and storms have displaced people from their homes in countries around the world. Though a causal link between any weather event and climate change is difficult to prove, climatologists have long believed that climate change will result in an increase in extreme weather events. Floods, droughts, and storms almost always impact the lives of individuals, forcing them to flee their homes as a result of safety or reduced food supply, among other factors.
The day Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast, I was in Mali, a country in West Africa’s Sahel region. As a native New Yorker, I was stunned and dismayed to see pictures of the flooded streets and tunnels of Manhattan, of destroyed homes and schools on Staten Island, and of thousands of my fellow New Yorkers displaced and in shelters. But I was even more struck by the indiscriminate nature of what I was witnessing both in Mali (one of the world’s poorest countries) and the United States (one of its richest): massive humanitarian emergencies resulting from more extreme weather.
Exactly one year ago, a historic summit took place in Geneva on the rights of refugees and stateless people. On December 9, 2011, the United States and 154 other nations met to discuss the importance of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions. But what made the conference historic was not the debate, but the pledges.
As the 67th General Assembly opens this week, and as the United Nations gears up for the countless high-level meetings and side events that follow, the enormity of the challenges facing the UN is striking.
Refugees International is deeply saddened by yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, three American consular staff, and several Libyan security personnel. While many details about the incident remain unclear, it is our firm belief that those who executed this attack in no way represent the Libyan people and their aspirations for peace.
In February 2012, RI visited the riverside community of Gambote, in Colombia's Bolívar Department. We spoke with Manuel Suárez, a local indigenous leader who had been displaced by violence in neighboring Córdoba Department. But as Manuel told us in the video below, his community needed to be relocated again – this time because of devastating floods in the area.
Steady, gainful employment is an important part of of resolving Colombia’s IDP crisis. In most cases of forced displacement in Colombia, families flee their homes in rural areas for the relative safety (and anonymity) of larger cities. In the process, they leave behind their agricultural livelihoods, assets, and social networks.