US Leads International Disaster Assistance Abroad, So Why are We Failing at Home?

US Leads International Disaster Assistance Abroad, So Why are We Failing at Home?

For the first time in its 38 year history, Refugees International (RI) is conducting a mission to the United States. Over the next week, my colleagues and I will be in Puerto Rico where eight weeks after Hurricane Maria made a direct hit, urgent humanitarian needs remain unmet.

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D.R. Congo: Alarming Needs in Kasai Must Be Addressed

D.R. Congo: Alarming Needs in Kasai Must Be Addressed

Despite the alarming numbers of people in need, as well as the grave atrocities being carried out, the Kasai region has received very little international attention and humanitarian funding. More than 30,000 people have fled from the Kasai region into Angola, seeking protection and support, and another 1.4 million people are internally displaced. The UN estimates that roughly one million people are food insecure, including 400,000 children who are facing malnutrition. The needs are staggering

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Cameroon: We Cannot Wait to Act

Cameroon: We Cannot Wait to Act

As tensions between English- and French-speaking communities in Cameroon continue to rise, RI Advocate Alexandra Lamarche calls on the United States and the international community to facilitate talks between the factions while this emerging crisis can still be mitigated.

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"Work is Everything in Life": Refugees Seek Formal Employment in Turkey

"Work is Everything in Life": Refugees Seek Formal Employment in Turkey

Izza Leghtas recently completed a two-week research mission in Turkey, investigating the ongoing challenges refugees face in accessing the formal labor market. She met men and women from Syria, Afghanistan and Iran, who shared their personal experiences and described their current jobs and work conditions. 

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Mosul, Raqqa: The Humanitarian Crises Continue

Mosul, Raqqa: The Humanitarian Crises Continue

Following the liberation of Raqqa, Syria from ISIS control, Daryl Grisgraber looks at the humanitarian needs of internally displaced people and of those who remained during the conflict.  The physical and logistical obstacles to providing humanitarian aid may be fewer with the end of the fighting, but in a sense aid organizations are now playing catch-up with people whom they couldn’t previously serve adequately or at all. 

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UN Food Distributions are critical for Somali Refugees in Kenya

UN Food Distributions are critical for Somali Refugees in Kenya

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it will cut food rations by 30 percent for the hundreds of thousands of Somalis in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in northern Kenya. WFP said the decision is the result of funding shortfalls. However, many of the Somali refugees believe the reductions are the result of a Kenyan government move to close the Dadaab and push the Somali refugees toward “voluntary” repatriation to Somalia.

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Refugees International Honors Samantha Power

Refugees International Honors Samantha Power

On October 5, 2017, Refugees International hosted its 15th Annual New York Circle, entitled "A Night for Refugees."  RI honored Ambassador Samantha Power, former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, with Refugees International's 2017 Exceptional Service Award. 

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Bearing Witness to the Rohingya Crisis

Bearing Witness to the Rohingya Crisis

Over a three decade career, I’ve been on dozens of humanitarian and human rights missions, but I don’t remember choking up on any of them -- until this current trip to Bangladesh.  

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Can Iraq’s Internally Displaced Return?

Can Iraq’s Internally Displaced Return?

Six weeks ago, Refugees International traveled to Iraq to meet with and assess the needs of internally displaced people (IDPs) about returning home to cities and towns liberated from ISIS control. Mosul had just been declared liberated even though conflict continued in the west of the city, and already there was talk of who could go back, when, and to what. There was also plenty of discussion about who could not go back, right now or maybe ever.

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For Thousands Left Homeless by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, Urgent Need to Prevent Long-Term Displacement

For Thousands Left Homeless by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, Urgent Need to Prevent Long-Term Displacement

As the Caribbean, Florida, and Texas face the long road to recovery following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, a window of opportunity exists to mitigate the human displacement created by these large-scale disasters and to build resilience to future events. These two priorities should inform how the United States is responding to these types of disasters. This blog outlines some important lessons that must inform the hurricane response in the future if we are going to keep pace with the increasing impacts of climate change impacts on population displacement:

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Sounding the Alarm on the Rohingya Crisis

Sounding the Alarm on the Rohingya Crisis

What I am about to write is staggering:  it is estimated by the United Nations and others that, over the past several weeks, the government of Myanmar and its military have driven nearly 300,000 Rohingya from their homes and out of Myanmar (also known as Burma).   

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Sergio Vieira de Mello Remembered

Sergio Vieira de Mello Remembered

On World Humanitarian Day 2017, Eric Schwartz remembers Sergio Vieira de Mello, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who died in a 2003 bombing in Iraq and for whom this day honoring humanitarians was created. 

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Honoring Courageous Aid Workers Around the World

Honoring Courageous Aid Workers Around the World

On World Humanitarian Day, Refugees International honors aid workers around the world who risk their lives in the service of others. Tragically, the places where people are most in need – whether in Yemen, northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo – are also some of the most dangerous places in the world.

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Lest we forget: Assisting ISIS survivors in Iraq

Lest we forget: Assisting ISIS survivors in Iraq

This month marks the three-year anniversary of the withdrawal of an 11,000-strong Peshmerga force from Sinjar in northern Iraq. The withdrawal left Sinjar’s Yazidi minority community besieged by Islamic State (ISIS) fighters. For one displaced Yazidi family with whom I recently met in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, there is both reason to grieve and to celebrate. The head of family told me that dozens of extended family members were kidnapped by ISIS during the siege. But this anniversary also marks the first that his now 15-year-old daughter, Vian,* is home.

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Surviving the ISIS Occupation: The Struggle Isn’t Over

Surviving the ISIS Occupation: The Struggle Isn’t Over

In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), a dusty camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) houses about 5,000 Iraqis, many of whom fled the Islamic State (ISIS) when the extremist group seized control of their villages in northern Iraq. In its attack on Sinjar during the summer of 2014, ISIS murdered or abducted thousands—and to this day, survivors do not know the fate of family members who disappeared in the ISIS assault. Many of the people who were able to avoid or escape the Sinjar massacre had come to Iraqi Kurdistan for safety.

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Even where ISIS is gone, displaced Iraqis still can’t go home

Even where ISIS is gone, displaced Iraqis still can’t go home

Since 2014, millions of Iraqis have been displaced by Islamic State (IS) and Iraq’s ongoing military efforts to defeat the group.  Even as people return home to retaken areas, more continue to be displaced.

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Reluctant Refuge: Rohingya Safe but not Secure in Bangladesh

Reluctant Refuge: Rohingya Safe but not Secure in Bangladesh

In this webinar, Refugees International Senior Advocate for Human Rights, Dan Sullivan provides a first-hand account of his experience in Bangladesh and discuss the objectives of his new report, Reluctant Refuge: Rohingya Safe but not Secure in Bangladesh. 

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Update from Greece

Update from Greece

Izza Leghtas, RI's Senior Advocate for Europe, remarks on her time spent interviewing refugees stranded on islands in Greece. Watch her video update below.

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Pain and Anxiety for Refugees Stuck on the Greek islands

Pain and Anxiety for Refugees Stuck on the Greek islands

While the Greek islands used to be places of transit where asylum seekers and migrants spent only days on their way to other European countries, as a result of an EU agreement with Turkey, thousands are stranded on Greece’s Aegean islands.

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Hundreds of Thousands of Drought-Impacted Somalis Flee to Cities

Hundreds of Thousands of Drought-Impacted Somalis Flee to Cities

Somalia is now well into its third consecutive season of a severe drought that, in the last seven months alone, has forced more than 760,000 people to flee their homes in search of food and water. Most come from areas controlled by Al-Shabaab or other non-state armed groups, places where the government and humanitarian agencies have limited to no access. The town of Baidoa, retaken from Al-Shabaab in 2012 and now marginally under state control, has become the only means of survival for much of the rural population across the country’s drought-stricken, south central region.

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