In March 2019, Cyclone Idai hit the east coast of Africa. It was an unprecedented storm that devastated parts of southern Africa. Photos from Refugees International Senior Advocate for Women and Girls Devon Cone show the region recovering.
Cyclones Idai and Kenneth devastated Mozambique and Zimbabwe in March and April 2019. The cyclones demonstrate an ugly truth: climate change will affect Africa more severely than any other continent. That the two cyclones occurred at that time of year, with this severity, and in these locations was remarkable. As humanitarians continue to respond to the needs of storm survivors, including a looming food crisis affecting up to a third of the population in Zimbabwe, the region must also prepare for similar storms in the future.
As more than 4 million Venezuelans flee their country, the risk of trafficking and sexual exploitation of Venezuelan women and girls is becoming more acute and demands urgent attention. Moreover, the number of reported female Venezuelan victims of trafficking is on the rise. In this report, Devon Cone and Melanie Teff examine the crisis of trafficking of Venezuelan women in the contexts of Colombia, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, and Curaçao and recommend a path forward for confronting trafficking and enhancing regional cooperation on this critical issue.
In response to the passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee of the so-called Secure and Protect Act of 2019, Refugees International's Senior U.S. Advocate Yael Schacher condemns it. She goes on to describe how it weakens protections for asylum seekers and flouts the United States’ national refugee and immigration legislation.
Today's announcement that the Trump Administration has reached a “safe third country” agreement with Guatemala is very alarming. As Refugees International has previously stated, Guatemala is in no way safe for refugees and asylum seekers, and all the strong-arming in the world won’t make it so.
Since taking office the Trump administration has taken unprecedented steps to sharply reduce both the number of refugees who are resettled in the United States and also the number of people who can claim asylum.
This has included significantly lowering what is known as the “ceiling” on refugee admissions to the smallest number ever and placing onerous restrictions on exactly who can be admitted as a refugee. Meanwhile, the administration is implementing several policies of dubious legality that would effectively make it impossible for people entering the southern US border to claim asylum.
The Trump administration’s restrictive policies toward refugees and asylum seekers are reaching a new phase.
In this episode one of the world’s leading experts on refugee and asylum policies is on the line to both discuss the mechanics of what the Trump administration is doing.
Eric Schwartz is the president of Refugees International and also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration in the Obama administration. He has deep experience working on humanitarian and refugee issues, which he summons in our conversation to help put this administration’s assault on refugees and asylum seekers in context.
We also discuss the very real global implications of the fact that the United States can not be meaningfully relied on to advocate for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers around the world.
If you have 20 minutes and want to learn the implications of the Trump administration’s increasingly hostile approach to refugees and asylum, have a listen.
The right to seek asylum has long been enshrined in domestic and international law. And yet a new rule proposed by the Trump administration would make it all but impossible for most people to apply for asylum at the southern border. Despite these attacks on the U.S. asylum system, Carly Goodman, S. Deborah Kang, and Yael Schacher describe how history has shown that advocacy can prevail and protect the rights of asylum seekers.
Sanctioning the highest levels of Myanmar’s military is an incredibly important if belated step. Although the sanctions are limited to travel restrictions, the move signifies that Washington is finally getting serious about accountability. It also acknowledges what the State Department itself has documented – that ethnic cleansing has taken place in Myanmar with virtual impunity.