In this statement, Refugees International expresses its deep concern regarding the return in recent weeks of thousands of Afghan nationals from Turkey back to Afghanistan where their safety is at risk. On April 23, Turkey’s minister of the interior announced that 7,100 Afghans had been returned to Afghanistan and that thousands more would follow shortly.
Refugees International is dismayed by Friday’s decision by the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras on July 5, 2018. The fate of some 57,000 Hondurans currently living in the United States, as well as their estimated 53,000 American citizen children, is now in question.
Twenty-one human rights and humanitarian organizations issued a statement today protesting the Greek government’s move to overturn a binding court ruling which ordered the government to end its abusive policy of trapping asylum seekers on Greece’s islands. The government’s move raises significant concerns about its challenge to rule of law.
Refugees International urges the United Nations Security Council to use its visits to Bangladesh and Myanmar to demand humanitarian access in Rakhine State and accountability for the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya. The visit to the camps in Bangladesh, where 700,000 Rohingya have fled, must also serve to highlight the urgent need for humanitarian support and improved coordination ahead of the monsoon and cyclone seasons.
On Friday, April 13, 2018, international donors gathered in Geneva for a Humanitarian Conference on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The conference was a crucial opportunity to focus global attention on the estimated 13.1 million Congolese citizens who are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and protection. In this statement, Refugees International urged urgent action to establish humanitarian assistance for the affected Congolese civilians.
In this statement, Refugees International expresses its dismay at the sudden announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel the April 2 agreement between Israel and UNHCR regarding Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers. RI welcomed the agreement which would have allowed refugee resettlement opportunities in Western countries for more than 16,000 African asylum seekers and would have provided temporary status inside Israel for another 16,000 within this vulnerable population.
As President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman tomorrow, Refugees International calls upon the president to press for an end to the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. In the absence of Saudi Arabia taking swift and concrete measures to protect and assist Yemeni civilians, President Trump should make clear that the United States will not continue to support a war that endangers the lives of millions.
Last week, the war in Syria marked a gruesome anniversary, with the nature and scope of the humanitarian tragedy continuing to defy description. The past year witnessed the deaths of tens of thousands of Syrians. The regime in Damascus and its allies continued to strike hospitals and other civilian targets. The war crimes now continue in the siege of Eastern Ghouta. In this statement, Refugees International calls on the United States and international community to take immediate action to end this years-old crisis.
On March 14, 2018, RI Senior Advocate Mark Yarnell testified before a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on "Somalia’s Current Security and Stability Status." Hosted by the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, the hearing examined the security and humanitarian conditions in Somalia following the near famine in 2017.
Refugees International condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack over the weekend on Eastern Ghouta by the Assad regime in direct contravention of Saturday’s unanimous UN Security Council resolution 2401 calling for an immediate nationwide ceasefire. That attack coupled ground forces with air bombardment, reportedly including the use of chemical weapons.
Refugees International welcomes the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passage of S.2060, the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act. This bipartisan legislation is a critical step forward in demanding accountability for the ethnic cleansing that has taken place in Burma (also known as Myanmar).
With the news that Myanmar and Bangladesh have reached an agreement on the return of the 600,000 Rohingya, Refugees International underlines several significant concerns about the terms of repatriation. Before any steps are undertaken, a number of safeguards must be put in place.
Refugees International President Eric Schwarz reacts to recent comments reliably attributed to the President of the United States, in which the President suggested that country of nationality, in and of itself, should impact eligibility for immigration to the United States. Schwartz underlines that this would depart from long-held U.S. policy and core values of the United States.
The Trump Administration has decided to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador. As a result, the fate of some 200,000 Salvadorans currently living in the United States is now in question, as is the status of nearly 200,000 of their American citizen children. The Salvadorans now have just 18 months to leave the United States, unless Congress takes action.
The EU and European governments continue to fail in their responsibilities to refugees and migrants who face severe abuse in Libyan detention centers operated by the Government of National Accord (GNA).
Refugees International President Eric Schwartz welcomes President Trump’s statement this week on the Yemen blockade, but the President’s words must be turned into immediate action as the blockade continues and millions of Yemeni lives are at stake.
Refugees International President Eric Schwartz issues a statement as the United States announced its decision to end its participation in the effort to develop a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Schwartz states that the U.S. decision is irresponsible and will limit U.S. capacity to influence a critical international discussion.
During their White House meeting, President Trump and Libya's Prime Minister al-Sarraj should discuss the plight of refugees and migrants in Libya, especially those housed in government-run detention facilities. Refugees International and other organizations have documented abuses taking place in these facilities. The U.S. president should urge the Libyan government to hold accountable those responsible.
As U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepares to visit Myanmar, he needs to send a strong message to Myanmar's government and military that violence against the Rohingya will not be tolerated. Failure of the government to take steps to end the violence should result in targeted sanctions against Myanmar's senior military leaders and military owned enterprises.
The earthquake that hit the Iran-Iraq border region this week creates even greater need for humanitarian assistance in Iraq. People made homeless by the earthquake join the more than three million Iraqis already displaced by years of conflict. The need for additional aid from donors, the United Nations, and humanitarian organizations is more urgent than ever.
Refugees International calls on the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen and on the United States government to do everything in their power to open entry points into Yemen and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid has arguably never been more desperately needed, or more thoroughly blocked.
Refugees International issued a statement following the Trump Administration's decision to resume the refugee admissions program with a range of additional security requirements. The Administration is adopting a new and near-total ban on admission of refugees from 11 nationality groups – groups which have in recent years represented a high percentage if not most of the refugees who have arrived in the United States. RI finds the Administration's action to be a cynical and tragic manipulation of administrative process and an action that conflicts with U.S. values and interests.
Refugees International welcomes Ambassador Nikki Haley’s visits to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, and Ethiopia this week and next, as well as her commitment to U.S. support for refugee assistance and protection in Africa. By visiting these countries, all of which are facing urgent humanitarian challenges, Ambassador Haley is playing an important and constructive role on these issues.
Refugees International welcomes Secretary of State Tillerson’s October 18 statement on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, and, in particular, his comment that “the world can’t just stand idly by and be witness to the atrocities being reported in the area.” But in fact, the world can stand idly by, as can the United States, and for nearly two months, that is largely what has occurred.
In response to the declaration that Raqqa, in northern Syria, has been retaken from ISIS, Refugees International urges all forces and authorities in the newly-liberated area to make the protection and rights of civilians their highest priority.
On September 27, 2017, Refugees International Senior Advocate for Human Rights Daniel Sullivan testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in a hearing titled "Burma’s Brutal Campaign Against the Rohingya."
Refugees International condemns the September 15, 2017 massacre in the Kamanyola transit site in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in which at least 39 Burundians were killed. Among the victims were 15 women, with another 100 people wounded. RI also regrets the loss of a Congolese soldier who was also killed.