Refugees International’s primer for members of the 116th Congress on international humanitarian assistance provides background on the proud, bipartisan tradition of U.S. leadership in humanitarian affairs, the value of U.S. investment in humanitarian and development funding, and the humanitarian imperative of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and outlines several key priority areas for policymakers.
As the crisis in Venezuela has intensified, 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled their homes—many to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Only 40 miles from the coast of Venezuela, an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 Venezuelans have fled to Curaçao in search of safe harbor. But once on the island, many of them live hidden and afraid with no real opportunities to obtain international protection or other forms of legal stay.
Years of instability and violence in the Central African Republic have led to large-scale displacement and a desperate need for international aid. This year, more than half of the country's 4.6 million people will depend on humanitarian assistance for protection and survival. But despite the negative trendlines, there is an opportunity for progress.
Turkey currently hosts the largest population of refugees in the world, including a growing number of Afghan refugees. Following a recent change in asylum procedures for Afghans and other non-Syrians in Turkey, Afghans have been facing increasing difficulties in registering with the authorities. Izza Leghtas and Jessica Thea recommend ways in which Turkish officials can make policy adjustments that will better ensure the rights of refugees.
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.
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.
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.