Izza Leghtas

Venezuelan Refugees in Curaçao are Facing Abuse, Detention, and Deportation

Venezuelan Refugees in Curaçao are Facing Abuse, Detention, and Deportation

A Refugees International team traveled to Curaçao in February 2019 to investigate the conditions for Venezuelans living there. It quickly became clear to us that the fate of Venezuelans in Curaçao might very well be the worst of those seeking refuge in the region.

Turkey Must Not Ignore Non-Syrian Refugees

Turkey Must Not Ignore Non-Syrian Refugees

As Turkey takes sole responsibility from UNHCR for processing the asylum claims of Afghans and other non-Syrians, it must register them and allow them to access their basic rights, say Refugees International’s Izza Leghtas and Jessica Thea.

For Refugees in Niger, Relief at Being Rescued from Libya and Fear for Those Left Behind

For Refugees in Niger, Relief at Being Rescued from Libya and Fear for Those Left Behind

In this blog, Senior Advocate Izza Leghtas write about refugees who have been evacuated from Libya to Niger under a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) emergency program. At a time when the world’s richest nations are closing their doors to people fleeing conflict and persecution, Niger has agreed to host some 900 refugees evacuated from Libya. But at the end of the day, Leghtas writes, EU member states and other wealthy countries must offer resettlement opportunities for these refugees if the evacuation system is to work. 

Through Work, Refugees Rebuild Their Lives

Through Work, Refugees Rebuild Their Lives

The first time I ordered food from Foodhini, a Washington D.C.-based start-up that delivers meals cooked by refugee and immigrant chefs, I chose dishes prepared by Syrian Chef Majed. The incredible sautéed okra and baked chicken were accompanied by a note with Majed’s story: how he fled from Syria to Jordan before being resettled in the United States, and how he learned to cook from his mother back in Syria.

"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. 

Will G7 Leaders in Sicily think of lives lost in the Mediterranean?

Will G7 Leaders in Sicily think of lives lost in the Mediterranean?

This week, the leaders of seven of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful nations will meet in Taormina, Italy, for this year’s G7 summit.The leaders of the U.S., the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the EU will attend the meeting on the Sicilian coast. As they marvel at the beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea, will they think of the men, women and children who put their lives in the hands of ruthless smugglers to reach Italy’s shores?

The EU at 60: Will the EU Regain Its Lost Humanity Regarding Refugees?

The EU at 60: Will the EU Regain Its Lost Humanity Regarding Refugees?

As the EU marks its 60th anniversary, EU member states now face the largest displacement crisis since World War II.  Instead of responding with humanity and effectiveness, they have turned their backs on and closed their borders to people urgently seeking protection. Well over a million people have crossed the Mediterranean since the beginning of 2015, fleeing wars, violence, persecution, and human rights abuses in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea. 

The Anniversary of the EU-Turkey Agreement

The Anniversary of the EU-Turkey Agreement

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, Refugee 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.