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.
During his upcoming address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump must demand strong measures to end the ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya people, especially in light of the escalated violence over the past three weeks.
Refugees International (RI) welcomes this week’s decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which reaffirms an EU scheme for a fairer distribution of asylum-seekers among EU member states. The EU court’s ruling is an important reminder to EU member states of the need for solidarity and responsibility sharing when it comes to the arrival of people in need of international protection.
Refugees International is outraged by the deplorable actions of the Myanmar military over the past several days. Well over 100,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State have been driven from their homes, and hundreds have reportedly been killed. Untold numbers are experiencing enormous deprivation and suffering as international humanitarian access is blocked to affected areas in Rakhine State.
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.
Refugees International (RI) is deeply alarmed by the recent violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and the dire consequences for innocent civilians. RI condemns the heavy-handed response of the Myanmar military to attacks by Rohingya militants on police. Shocking reports of attacks on Rohingya civilians by the Myanmar military, including the firing of machine guns and mortars toward fleeing civilians, are particularly disturbing and deserve unequivocal international condemnation.
Refugees International (RI) applauds U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ appointment of Jane Connors as the organization’s first-ever Victims’ Rights Advocate. The appointment is a significant step forward in the UN's renewed commitment to eradicate sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) in its peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
Refugees International issued a statement welcoming the final report and recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. RI urges the Government of Myanmar to implement the Commission's recommendations with particular emphasis on the need for full and unfettered humanitarian access and the need to address Rakhine State as a human rights crisis.
Refugees International expresses its outrage and deeply sadness with the news that seven members of the Syrian Civil Defense (the White Helmets) were killed in a recent attack. The White Helmets are an extraordinary humanitarian organization that provides a beacon of hope for Syrians caught up in the brutal conflict.
Over the past week, hundreds of Syrian refugees have left the Aarsal region of Lebanon for Idlib governorate in northern Syria, and thousands more are expected to follow. So far, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent have not been able to confirm the voluntary nature of the returns or monitor what has happened to the refugees upon arrival in Syria.
As recognized in the New York Declaration, the drivers of displacement and migration in the 21st century are complex, and increasingly include natural disasters, food insecurity, and other adverse effects of climate change
Refugees International is deeply concerned by the Italian government’s plan to send navy ships into Libyan territorial waters to assist the Libyan coastguard with intercepting migrants and refugees attempting the sea journey to Europe.
As President Trump welcomes Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to Washington, DC, the situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon must be a prominent and urgent point on their discussion agenda – and we urge that both leaders affirm a commitment to respect the rights of Syrian refugees.
On July 18, 2017, Refugees International President Eric Schwartz testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development and Multilateral Institutions at a hearing, titled, "The Four Famines: Root Causes and a Multilateral Action Plan." In his testimony, Schwartz focused on the factors leading to famine conditions in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria.
As the later stages of routing the Islamic State (IS) in northern Iraq continue, we must continue to focus attention on the enormous humanitarian needs facing the Iraqi men, women, and children who were displaced by the fighting and those who remained in the city throughout the siege.
Refugees International strongly urges the U.S. government to postpone the permanent lifting of sanctions on Sudan, pending further progress by Sudan’s government on international humanitarian access and four other objectives described in Executive Order 13761 from January 2017.
Refugees International is deeply disappointed by the decision of Supreme Court to permit imposition of most elements of the Executive Order imposing a ban on entry into the United States by travelers from six Muslim majority nations and imposing a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program pending the Court’s consideration of this issue.
At the upcoming European Council meeting in Brussels on June 22 and 23, 2017, European Union leaders will discuss the Central Mediterranean migration route and, as per the meeting’s agenda, will “assess the implementation of measures taken to stem the migration flow” on that route. Refugees International urges EU leaders to put the rights of refugees and migrants above political considerations currently driving Europe’s actions in the Central Mediterranean
Refugees International is alarmed by the devastating cuts proposed by President Trump’s more detailed FY18 budget request to Congress. The administration proposal is not about better aid accountability or reaching vulnerable populations more effectively. Simply put, this budget would cripple humanitarian response at a time when the global community is facing crises unparalleled in modern times.