Statement on the Nomination of Eric Schwartz as Assistant Secretary of State for PRM

This statement was originally released on April 27, 2009.  Mr. Schwartz's confirmation hearing is scheduled for June 3, 2009.

"President Obama's nomination of Eric Schwartz to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration shows the Obama administration's commitment to the world's 41.9 million refugees and internally displaced people, and 12 million stateless people. Refugees International fully supports his confirmation and encourages the Senate to act quickly to confirm this position.

"Throughout his career in both the public and the private sector, Mr. Schwartz has shown dedication to tackling crises like that of Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq, the post-genocide exodus from Rwanda, and the resettlement of Vietnamese boat people. He is clearly committed to the belief that a world with less displacement is a peaceful and more prosperous world.

"If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Schwartz would take over the Refugee Bureau at a time when it faces significant challenges. The world is struggling to protect displaced people in the Darfur region of Sudan and to ensure the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in south Sudan. Nearly 5 million Iraqis are displaced throughout the Middle East and need the support and infrastructure to return home. Somalia is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, and Colombia are other extremely volatile regions with increasing displacement.

"The Bureau must take the lead in clarifying U.S. government policy on the best way for the international community to respond to the needs of internally displaced people. It must also continue to increase its activities to reduce statelessness.

"The Assistant Secretary's role is essential for coordinating with other agencies that are instrumental to assisting and resettling displaced people, and for running a large office with a talented and dedicated staff.  Given the urgent needs and rapidly increasing numbers of displaced people around the world, Refugees International urges all Senators to quickly vote in favor of this appointment so that the Obama Administration can begin meeting its responsibilities to the world's most vulnerable populations."

Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises. For more information visit www.refugeesinternational.org