Over the past month, an estimated 600,000 Rohingya men, women, and children have fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, streaming into make-shift settlements in Bangladesh. RI has continued to raise the alarm on the ongoing Rohingya crisis. Senior Advocate for Human Rights Dan Sullivan testified in front of Congress on the crisis. You can view a video of the hearing here. RI President Eric Schwartz has spoken out on the crisis in numerous interviews (see media section below) and authored a Washington Post op-ed, “No More Excuses – The Rohingya Need Our Help.” RI also issued a policy brief on the crisis, “Bearing Witness to Crimes against Humanity.”
In recent weeks, the Myanmar military has engaged in increased violence against the Rohingya population, sparking a mass exodus of Rohingya into Bangladesh. In response to this crisis, Refugees International now has a team in Bangladesh led by RI President Eric Schwartz to assess the situation and conditions for Rohingya refugees. Read a recent blog from RI President Eric Schwartz: Sounding the Alarm on the Rohingya Crisis. RI was pleased that our call to the U.S. to halt expanded military cooperation with Myanmar was heeded by Senator John McCain after a strong advocacy push from RI and our partners. Eric discussed the ongoing crisis on Al Jazeera English and with the Dhaka Tribune. RI's concerns about the recent violence were also covered by the Associated Press.
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision last week, Refugees International released a statement expressing its continued concern about the so-called "travel ban,", aspects of which went into force last Thursday. In particular, the Court decision allows many of the original elements of the Executive Order to move forward, including restriction on entry into the United States by travelers from six Muslim-majority nations and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Read our statement on the Court's decision here and our Q&A on the travel ban here.
On April 25, Refugees International hosted its 38th Anniversary Dinner at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. During the event, RI honored outstanding humanitarians: the volunteers of the White Helmets (Syria Civil Defense) who were awarded RI's highest humanitarian honor, the McCall-Pierpaoli Award; the Congressional Leadership Award was presented to Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) for his work on refugee policy; and Hassan Shire of Defend Defenders received the Richard C. Holbrooke Humanitarian Award for his work on behalf of human rights activists and others in East Africa. View photos of the event here.
Uganda faces one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing refugee crises. The implosion of South Sudan has forced more than 1.5 million refugees to seek asylum in the region, with Uganda host to an estimated 700,000 of the refugees; 86 percent of them are women and children fleeing atrocities such as sexual violence. Thousands of South Sudanese continue to flee each day, and figures are likely to increase as famine has just been declared in parts of South Sudan. Uganda has an open-door policy which is serving as a model for refugee operations worldwide. Our latest report urges the international community to provide greater assistance to the South Sudanese refugees, in particular for gender-based violence prevention and response. Read the full report.
Turkey hosts the world's largest population of refugees and asylum-seekers, with the majority – 2.8 million – having fled the conflict in neighboring Syria. Another 290,000 come from other countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. Our latest report finds that non-Syrian refugees in Turkey face harsh realities and unique vulnerabilities that are often overlooked. Authored by Senior Advocates Izza Leghtas and Daniel Sullivan,the reportexamines the significant challenges these refugees face and their lack of prospects for stable and secure futures.