In an unusual letter to the State Department’s top acting lawyer, Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, has urged officials of the Department’s office of the legal adviser to “cease their involvement in efforts to secure” a safe third country agreement with the government of Guatemala.
Refugees International welcomes the public release of the U.S. State Department’s report on its investigation into atrocities committed by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya minority. But the findings of the report must lead to actions necessary for holding the perpetrators of the violence responsible.
Former government and humanitarian leaders write to U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo, urging him to reconsider, amid a decision on the reorganization of the U.S. Department of State, the elimination of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. The letter outlines and underscores the unique role the bureau plays in influencing U.S. foreign policy interests and leadership.
In a letter to leading members of Congress, Refugees International joined with 27 international humanitarian, human rights, peace and security organizations to, Refugees International to advocate for continued strong U.S. leadership at the United Nations. The letter called on the Congress Members to ensure that the U.S. government honors its financial commitments to the UN in Fiscal Year 2019 and to oppose any efforts to rescind UN funding as agreed to on a bipartisan basis as part of the FY 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
Refugees International remains alarmed by the significant budget cuts proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget, which was released on February 12, 2018. Budgets define priorities and this budget proposal, if approved by Congress, would be devastating to lifesaving humanitarian work across the globe.
On Thursday, April 12, 2018, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold the nomination hearing for Secretary of State nominee Michael Pompeo. In advance of that hearing, Refugees International sent a letter to Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking Member Robert Menendez urging that they and other Members of the Committee ensure that the nominee address critical concerns regarding the nominees views and approaches to refugee policies.
As U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarks on a multi-nation trip to sub-Saharan Africa, Refugees International delivered a letter to the secretary urging the Trump administration to use this critical opportunity to reaffirm U.S. humanitarian support, while advocating for policies that promote the safety, dignity, and rights of refugees and displaced populations in the sub-Saharan region. In the letter, Refugees International President Eric Schwartz underlines the urgent challenges in Nigeria and Kenya in particular, stating that swift action is needed by the U.S. administration to address ongoing humanitarian and displacement crises in those nations.
A bipartisan group of former senior U.S. officials today urged Secretary of State Tillerson to ensure that two State Department reports on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, where were mandated by President Trump, contain key elements to ensure the reports contribute to responsible policy making. The President’s directive requires that Secretary Tillerson prepare two reports within 180 days – an estimate of the long-term costs of the United States Refugee Admissions Program and an estimate of the number of refugees being supported in countries of first asylum for the same long-term cost as supporting refugees resettled in the United States.
As the Trump Administration considers proposals to re-organize the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, a report by the Expert Group for International Humanitarian Response (made up of former top U.S. diplomats and humanitarian leaders) calls on the administration to adhere to long-held U.S. values and maintain its leadership in international humanitarian responses and to fully examine these global responsibilities before any decisions are taken on how the government is structured.