In this statement, Refugees International expresses its dismay at the sudden announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel the April 2 agreement between Israel and UNHCR regarding Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers. RI welcomed the agreement which would have allowed refugee resettlement opportunities in Western countries for more than 16,000 African asylum seekers and would have provided temporary status inside Israel for another 16,000 within this vulnerable population.
As U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarks on a multi-nation trip to sub-Saharan Africa, Refugees International delivered a letter to the secretary urging the Trump administration to use this critical opportunity to reaffirm U.S. humanitarian support, while advocating for policies that promote the safety, dignity, and rights of refugees and displaced populations in the sub-Saharan region. In the letter, Refugees International President Eric Schwartz underlines the urgent challenges in Nigeria and Kenya in particular, stating that swift action is needed by the U.S. administration to address ongoing humanitarian and displacement crises in those nations.
Refugees International condemns the September 15, 2017 massacre in the Kamanyola transit site in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in which at least 39 Burundians were killed. Among the victims were 15 women, with another 100 people wounded. RI also regrets the loss of a Congolese soldier who was also killed.
Refugees International strongly urges the U.S. government to postpone the permanent lifting of sanctions on Sudan, pending further progress by Sudan’s government on international humanitarian access and four other objectives described in Executive Order 13761 from January 2017.