Refugees International's 36th Anniversary Luncheon

Refugees International's 36th Anniversary Luncheon

Refugees International's 36th Anniversary Luncheon was hosted by H.E. Ambassador of Spain Ramon Gil-Casares at his residence on April 28, 2015. 

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A "Protection Agenda" for Climate-Related Displacement Reveals Complexities, and No Easy Answers

A "Protection Agenda" for Climate-Related Displacement Reveals Complexities, and No Easy Answers

Each year, millions of people across the globe are forced to flee disasters, primarily floods, storms, and other acute, weather-related events. As the effects of global climate change continue to unfold, more extreme weather, growing food insecurity, and other drivers of displacement will only increase. Of utmost concern is how climate change will affect low-lying island nations who face increased storm surge, salt water inundation of fresh water resources, and sea level rise, threatening their very existence.

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The Last Injustice

The Last Injustice

It’s one of those things you don’t think about until someone specifically brings it up. You don’t think about it partly because it doesn’t seem to be the most urgent need, and partly because you just don’t want to have such an image in your head. It’s a mental picture that’s not easy to get rid of.

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A Counter-Intuitive Flight: Is Somalia Ready to Receive Refugees from Yemen?

A Counter-Intuitive Flight: Is Somalia Ready to Receive Refugees from Yemen?

For more than 24 years, refugees have fled instability in Somalia for the comparative safety of Yemen. Now, as indiscriminate violence grips Yemen, civilians there are packing up their lives and hoping to find safe haven in Somalia.

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Three Steps Back for Israel's Asylum Policy

Three Steps Back for Israel's Asylum Policy

A few weeks ago, Israel began sending letters to thousands of asylum seekers informing them of their imminent deportation to an unnamed African country. If they resist deportation and refuse to “voluntarily” leave Israel, the letter claims, they will be sent to jail within 30 days. This is an unconscionable violation of the rights of asylum seekers.  

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Assistance Denied: Aid and LGBTI Rights in the Congo

Assistance Denied: Aid and LGBTI Rights in the Congo

One day on the shores of Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Micheline went to jail. The arrest probably did not come as a surprise to her. Working as a sex worker, run-ins with the police may have been a common occurrence for Micheline. But when she reached the prison on that particular day, things took an ugly turn.

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The Importance of Birth Registration

The Importance of Birth Registration

“We must not forget the millions of stateless people whose dreams of nationality will never come to fruition. They also need our help to enjoy basic human rights right now,” remarked UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres in 2007. Yet the international community often highly overlooks statelessness and the adverse implications of such status. While many individuals tend to take the legal acquisition of a nationality for granted, the acquirement of nationality can heavily dictate the quality of life for an individual.

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Moving Beyond Emergency Assistance for Syrian Refugees

Moving Beyond Emergency Assistance for Syrian Refugees

Today, nearly 80 donor governments and 40 aid agencies are gathering in Kuwait for the Third International Pledging Conference for Syria. The conference aims to raise much-needed funds for the Syria Response Plan and the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP). 

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Acting to Avert Hunger in Afghanistan

Acting to Avert Hunger in Afghanistan

Avalanches and flash floods played havoc on parts of Afghanistan last month, causing the deaths of over 285 villagers in Panjshir province. The snow and floods destroyed hundreds of homes and forced hundreds of families to turn to their neighbors and aid agencies for food, clothing, and shelter to survive. 

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Life for Syrian Refugees Outside of Turkey's Camps

Life for Syrian Refugees Outside of Turkey's Camps

The southeast provinces of Turkey, on the Syrian border, are home to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. Some of the refugees have been there for up to four years. Most are struggling to get by and trying to avoid having to go into a camp. The Turkish government is in the process of registering Syrians, but those who have not yet become “official” are not eligible for government assistance. 

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The Human Rights of Stateless People: Testimony Before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights of Stateless People: Testimony Before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

The following is Sarnata Reynolds’ testimony before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on the Human Rights of Stateless People on March 23, 2014.

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Syrian Refugees and the Right to Education in Turkey

Syrian Refugees and the Right to Education in Turkey

“When we talk to people in the camps and cities, inside Syria and in Turkey, they say it’s ok if we don’t have enough food or health care, but it’s not ok if we don’t have education for our children.” 

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Reducing Climate Change's Disastrous Effects

Reducing Climate Change's Disastrous Effects

As countries across the globe face more disasters from extreme weather, an upcoming conference in Japan may be key to protect those most vulnerable from the impacts of climate change.

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The President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Request: Humanitarian and Peacekeeping Accounts

The President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Request: Humanitarian and Peacekeeping Accounts

With so many humanitarian crises around the world, priority humanitarian and peacekeeping accounts need increased support from Congress now more than ever. This includes the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) and the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) humanitarian accounts, along with the core peacekeeping accounts including Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) and Contributions for International Peacekeeping (CIPA). 

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Birth Registration in Turkey: Preventing Statelessness of Syrian Children

Birth Registration in Turkey: Preventing Statelessness of Syrian Children

Imagine that your own birth was never officially recorded. Your family members and friends would know you, and know that you exist.  You might receive services from local organizations, like the church or the fire department. But what would happen when it’s time to enroll in school, get a job, or apply for a driver’s license? Now imagine all of this is happening to you in a foreign country. You fled your home because of war. But when it’s time to return home with the rest of your family, how could you prove that you belong there? How could you convince anyone that you, too, had rights in the country that you consider home?

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Stop the PR Campaign, Start Making a Difference

Stop the PR Campaign, Start Making a Difference

When I was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last October, every meeting that I held with Congolese government officials sounded surprisingly similar. They were all engaged in a battle to change the long-held image of the country as “the rape capital of the world.” Government officials explained to me that now that the threat of the M23 rebel group was behind them, the country is at relative peace and women can start to experience the dividends of that peace. Conflict-related sexual violence is no longer a problem in the DRC, or so they claimed. Not only is that statement incorrect, but engaging in this type of PR campaign is the last thing that the DRC needs right now.

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Sri Lanka’s Unfinished Humanitarian Business

Sri Lanka’s Unfinished Humanitarian Business

Prior to Sri Lanka’s January 2015 election, it was impossible to turn on the television, look at a newspaper or walk down the street without being bombarded with images of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his two brothers, Basil and Gothabaya, who between them dominated many of the key Cabinet positions. But the face of Sri Lanka has changed.

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Things Get Worse: Rohingya in Bangladesh

Things Get Worse: Rohingya in Bangladesh

About two years ago I secretly met with a dozen stateless Rohingya refugees in a hotel room in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.  They were new arrivals from Rakhine State in Myanmar and had waded through shallow areas of the Naf River on the Bay of Bengal to escape violence and persecution. We met clandestinely because they were afraid that if they were identified as Rohingya, they would be arrested, detained, and sent back to Myanmar. Newspapers worldwide were reporting the expulsion of large numbers of Rohingya, and the refugees knew of others who had been spotted and deported. 

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Stay Engaged in Afghanistan

Stay Engaged in Afghanistan

“Afghanistan is not hopeless.” 

So said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) in a recent speech at the US Institute of Peace. Cotton, elected to the Senate last year after one term in the House of Representatives, is a former U.S. Army officer. He served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division and in 2008-9 with a U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. Now a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Cotton is working to convince the president and his colleagues of the importance of continued U.S. and international engagement in support of the security, development, and humanitarian needs of the Afghan people.

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Lifting the Siege in South Sudan

Lifting the Siege in South Sudan

In December 2013 South Sudan's capital city, Juba, exploded in violence. Fighting between troops loyal to the ousted vice president Riek Machar and those loyal to President Salva Kiir was followed by a wave of ethnic violence. As panic set in, thousands of people sought refuge in bases belonging to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Today, there are more than 100,000 displaced South Sudanese sheltering in UNMISS bases across the country.

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