A fragile new peace deal in South Sudan has brought cautious hope to the country’s 4.5 million displaced, and talks of returning forcibly displaced populations from inside and outside the country have gained momentum. But Dan Sullivan warns that large-scale returns are premature.
As the number of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in desperate situations worldwide reaches historic levels, no nation alone can respond effectively to the challenge this presents. But two new agreements, the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration, are historic efforts to seek international cooperation. Alice Thomas and Mark Yarnell outline some of the key achievements of the compacts and make recommendations for moving them forward.
Despite jubilation in Ethiopia and abroad since reformer Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in April 2018, a major humanitarian crisis has unfolded in the south of the country. The government is pressing for displaced people to return home, but their villages are still unsafe and their homes must be rebuilt. Mark Yarnell offers recommendations for mitigating the crisis.
Today, some two million people are effectively trapped in a space of 140 square miles without reliable access to clean water, sufficient food, adequate medical care, or the ability to make a living. Living conditions in Gaza are the worst they have ever been, and Daryl Grisgraber presents a sobering picture of a humanitarian crisis that is worsening.
One year ago this week, Hurricane María made landfall in Puerto Rico causing catastrophic damage to the island. Women and girls are typically disproportionately impacted in natural disasters, and there are widely held standards and guidelines in place to guarantee their protection before, during, and after an emergency. However, insufficient protocols were put in place to ensure that women were protected during and after the storm. In fact, violence against women increased after Hurricane María, and women’s rights activists have now declared a crisis of gender-based violence (GBV) in the storm’s aftermath.
The Jordan Compact is an ambitious effort by the international community and the Kingdom of Jordan to help mitigate the economic toll of hosting a large number of Syrian refugees and turn it into a development opportunity. However, more than two years into the Compact, the results are disappointing and many refugees in Jordan are worse off.
The Trump administration is engaged in a sustained campaign against vulnerable women, men, and children seeking asylum in the United States. It is an effort waged through policies and actions designed to deter individuals from seeking protection, and to close off avenues for asylum that are well grounded in international and domestic law and established practice. In a new report, Refugees International provides recommendations for ending abuses against vulnerable people seeking protection from persecution at the U.S. southern border.
For decades, armed conflicts have ravaged the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), resulting in massive displacement and critical humanitarian needs. Over 13.1 million Congolese require humanitarian assistance, and with limited resources, humanitarians in the DRC are forced to make tough trade-offs as new conflicts emerge amid protracted ones—with aid delivery slowing down and increasingly diverted with each new outbreak. Insufficient funding threatens to unravel decades of investment and push the DRC deeper into chaos.
As northeast Syria recovers from occupation by ISIS, there is an important opportunity to strengthen the capacity of local humanitarian groups to help the region recover. These groups work in IDP camps, in host communities, with the displaced, with residents who never left, and with IDP and refugee returnees. They provide a range of services from food distribution to health care to shelter assistance in places where many international aid organizations do not or cannot have a presence. However, these groups are significantly limited in what they can achieve due to scarce funding and lack of capacity.
The Trump administration’s current policies in the area of so-called “zero tolerance” are far from clear. Criminal prosecution and detention of migrants continue to be key administration tools in a policy of deterrence, and until recently, family separation has been a common and abhorrent practice. There are clear indications that the administration is still pursuing a family detention option, which could also apply to families that seek asylum at ports of entry. The zero tolerance policy is decidedly cruel. This RI issue brief explores alternatives to detention.
The Rohingya minority in Myanmar has undergone a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing marked by widespread and systematic sexual violence. While Rohingya women living in refugee camps in Bangladesh are currently safe from the violence in Myanmar, gender-based violence (GBV) continues in refuge, with hundreds of incidents reported weekly. And despite the acute awareness of the use of sexual violence as a weapon against the Rohingya, the humanitarian community in Bangladesh was—and remains—ill-prepared to prioritize the response to GBV as a lifesaving matter.
Syria is in the midst of one of the largest and fastest displacement crises since the start of the country’s bloody civil war eight years ago. As many as 330,000 Syrians have been displaced and are fleeing toward Jordan and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights to escape the Syrian government’s rapid advance. But despite the worsening crisis, international borders remain closed.
In June, the President signed an Executive Order (EO) in response to widespread concerns about the administration’s practice of separating adult asylum seekers from their children at the U.S. border. The EO is designed to replace a family separation policy with a family detention policy, but there is considerable uncertainty about how this will operate in practice. At the heart of this issue is the Flores Settlement, which regulates the treatment of children in the custody of federal immigration authorities. We took a close look at the settlement and what’s next.
As the former capital of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Raqqa serves as an important barometer in measuring the progress of recovery in the wake of the liberation of much of northeast Syria. However, to date, efforts to stabilize the city and address the humanitarian situation have not kept pace with realities on the ground.
The United States and other donors have an important opportunity to consolidate stability in northeast Syria, which has been largely liberated from the Islamic State. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have begun to return home, but much work remains to be done with major population centers like Raqqa still riddled with explosive devices and basic services still to be restored. Actions by the Trump administration, however, threaten to unravel fragile progress on the ground.