In a statement for the record before the Lantos Human Rights Commission, Refugees International outlined the plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar, an ethnic minority that is one of the most persecuted groups in the world. More than one million Rohingya live in Myanmar today and face wide-ranging restrictions on their rights to move, work, marry, and even have children. More than 140,000 Rohingya were displaced by violence in 2012 and another 100,000 have been forced to flee their homes during a military crackdown over the last six months.
On March 18, the EU and Turkey will mark the one-year anniversary of their joint statement, which sought to stem the flows of asylum-seekers and migrants crossing from Turkey’s shores to the Greek islands. But as this anniversary approaches, Refugees International believes there little cause to celebrate and much more cause for concern. While EU leaders have presented the policy as a success, pointing to the significant decrease in the number of arrivals on the Greek islands since March 2016, the policy has also left thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers stranded in Greece in shocking conditions and has eroded the right to seek asylum in Europe.
Michel Gabaudan, president of Refugees International (RI), announced today that, after nearly seven years at the organization and following consultations with the RI Board of Directors, he will step down from the presidency of Refugees International within the next several months.
President Trump is likely to issue a new Executive Order this week, reworking his previous and much protested travel ban on immigrants and refugees. Given that the new Executive Order is unlikely to step back from the administration’s original refugee ban, RI continues to condemn and reject President Trump’s misguided anti-immigrant agenda.
The Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group in Myanmar, have been systematically disenfranchised and increasingly marginalized, including through denial of citizenship and restriction of movement. Over the years successive UN Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Myanmar have reported serious continuing human rights violations against this community.
As you look to develop the FY2018 budget resolution, we urge you to protect international lifesaving humanitarian assistance, peace-building, and poverty-focused health and development programs in the Function 150 account by funding it at no less than $60 billion. Although this account represents only 1.4% of the federal budget, it is critical to saving millions of lives and advances U.S. interests overseas.
Looking toward the confirmation hearings for Secretary of State Designate Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Designate Nikki Haley, a coalition of U.S.-based international humanitarian and development organizations write to ask the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to elevate the value of U.S. global engagement, particularly through the committee’s exercise of its confirmation authority.
We join together as diverse voices from a variety of sectors to oppose the harmful global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy. While the Helms Amendment restricts U.S. foreign assistance funding for abortions “as a method of family planning,” the global gag rule goes a step further by blocking aid to foreign organizations who use their own non-U.S. funds to provide information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or to advocate for access to abortion services in their own country.
Our organizations represent hundreds of thousands of Americans, thought leaders, program implementers, and business leaders currently advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls, global development, and humanitarian assistance for peace and security around the world. While our organizations bring differing perspectives, and employ different methods in our work, one thing that unites us is our commitment to advancing gender equality, and the empowerment and human rights of all women and girls, in the United States and around the world. We believe that all people are created equal and deserve the opportunity to realize their full potential and exercise their rights.
Refugees International condemns South Sudan’s announcement on January 11 that it will reject a regional protection force mandated by the United Nations Security Council. The South Sudanese government has shown itself both unwilling to and incapable of protecting its citizens, necessitating a robust response by the international community.
As snow and freezing temperatures impact refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants currently living in make-shift shelters in Greece, Refugees International urges the Greek government and the European Union to immediately provide adequate warm accommodations for those enduring harsh winter conditions in Greece’s refugee camps.