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.
Refugees International is calling for immediate, full, and unfettered access for humanitarian assistance and for an independent international investigation into severe human rights abuses in northern Rakhine State in Myanmar. The international community must continue to engage the Government of Myanmar and push for the protection of the most vulnerable people in Rakhine State, including both Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists....
Following this week's closure of the Calais camp, known as “The Jungle,” the French government must protect the rights of all asylum-seekers and migrants who had been living there, including unaccompanied children. By some estimates, between 6,000 and 8,000 people (including over 1,000 unaccompanied children) had been living in the camp in unsanitary conditions. Most were hoping to travel to the United Kingdom, their destination of choice. Over the past few days, workers destroyed hundreds of makeshift shelters, delayed only by the multiple fires that burned for hours inside the camp. In the midst of these chaotic events, dozens of unaccompanied children were left without shelter and their protection and futures are far from clear.
According to figures published by the French government, as of October 26, 4,457 adults had been transferred out of Calais and into reception centers across the country, where they can apply for asylum in France. The French Ministry of Interior announced today that 1451 children had been provided with shelters in a temporary reception center in Calais and elsewhere, and that the United Kingdom (UK) had accepted to transfer 274 unaccompanied children from Calais to the UK.
"France should not return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment...(and) should pay particular attention to and address the needs of the unaccompanied children... "
As these events unfold, Refugees International calls on the French government to provide people with all relevant information about their rights and options in France, process asylum claims fairly and provide all asylum-seekers with adequate accommodation during the process. Regardless of whether they qualify for international protection, France should not return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, in line with its obligations under European and international law. The French government should pay particular attention to and address the needs of the unaccompanied children who are still in Calais and prioritize their safety and shelter. The United Kingdom should enable the transfer unaccompanied children with family ties there. The UK should also offer protection to unaccompanied children, regardless of family ties, under a legal provision known as the “Dubs Amendment,” which allows for the relocation of unaccompanied children to the UK from elsewhere in Europe.
Top photo: Diego Capolo/REUTERS.
Refugees International is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Wilmar Córdoba, son of Marino Córdoba, the president of the National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES). Wilmar was assassinated yesterday, October 24, 2016, following months of threats against AFRODES and its dedicated leaders and staff.
The undersigned organizations urge all member states, when deciding which Eastern European candidate to support, to question seriously whether Russia’s role in Syria – which includes supporting and undertaking military actions which have routinely targeted civilians and civilian objects – renders it fit to serve on the UN’s premier inter-governmental human rights institution.