In a letter addressed to Mexican President-Elect López Obrador and U.S. Vice President Pence, 19 former senior U.S. officials involved in national security, refugees and asylum, and Western hemispheric affairs urged the governments of Mexico and the United States to emphasize that the issue of migration from Central America is primarily a humanitarian issue.
Refugees International urges the governments of Mexico and the United States to suspend any discussion of an agreement that would force asylum seekers to remain in Mexico pending a determination of their U.S. asylum claims.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security memorandum on limiting access to asylum is appalling, and Refugees International is deeply alarmed about any presidential proclamation that would bar access to asylum to those entering the United States between U.S. ports of entry.
The efforts of individuals to seek asylum in the United States represent a policy challenge but not a national security crisis. The president has willfully and cynically vilified an asylum seeker population composed of vulnerable children, women, and men.
Refugees International welcomes the co-hosting of the second Conference for Prosperity and Security in Central America. But in the context of a conference addressing security, it is appalling that the Administration’s public statements about the conference have not specifically addressed the critical need to protect the lives of women, men, and children being returned to Central America.
Refugees International is deeply alarmed by the findings of a new scientific report concluding that – absent immediate and ambitious action by governments – climate change will have severe and irreversible real life impacts on hundreds of millions of people, especially those living in the poorest regions of the globe.
Refugees International is deeply disappointed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s failure to credibly demonstrate U.S. leadership of global humanitarian assistance in his speech to the UN General Assembly. The president’s comments were concerning in at least five key areas. But ultimately, what we heard today was a fundamental misunderstanding of what leadership means.
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.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement of a refugee ceiling of 30,000 is appalling, and it continues this administration’s rapid flight from the proud U.S. tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution around the world.
Refugees International is deeply concerned by indications that the Assad regime and its international partners are preparing to launch a major military operation to capture Idlib province. An offensive in Idlib would likely result in a humanitarian catastrophe.
Refugees International is saddened by the death of Ambassador Princeton Lyman. The United States – and the world – has lost someone who dedicated his life to peace, diplomacy, and to helping vulnerable communities around the world.
Refugees International welcomes the announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department of new targeted sanctions on four Myanmar security officials and two military units directly involved in the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority. However, the new sanctions must be part of sustained efforts by the U.S. government at its highest levels in order to have real impact.
Upon return from a field mission to the border between the United States and Mexico, Refugees International President Eric Schwartz decried human rights abuses against highly vulnerable asylum seekers from the Northern Triangle of Central America.
Senior Advocate for Human Rights Daniel P. Sullivan delivered testimony at a July 25, 2018, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on “Victims’ Rights in Burma,” regarding human rights abuses and the persecution of minorities in northern Myanmar, particularly in Myanmar’s Kachin and northern Shan States.
Refugees International President Eric Schwartz reflects on the current political environment in the United States with respect to refugee issues and the implications for the work of humanitarian and refugee advocates.
Refugees International is disappointed by the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a broad Presidential ban that was imposed in September 2017 on entry of individuals from eight countries, most of which are have Muslim majorities. We believe the ban was motivated by religious bias, as reflected in repeated statements by the President prior to and subsequent to the presidential election, and that the government has failed to demonstrate that the measure was reasonably grounded in national security concerns.
In the wake of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, Refugees International condemns the separation of children of from parents seeking protection in the United States. These measures are nowhere mandated in U.S. law, are inhumane, and risk creating psychological and emotional damage to the children and their families.
Refugees International is dismayed by the Italian government’s refusal to allow the SOS Mediteranée and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) ship, the Aquarius, to disembark in Italy. EU governments have the means to manage these arrivals in an organized, humane way that complies with their obligations under international law.
In this statement, President Eric Schwartz reacts to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to end asylum for victims of domestic abuse and gang violence. The Attorney General’s decision puts thousands of women’s lives at risk in countries where femicide is on the rise.
It is essential that the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) address protection issues, as reaffirmation of protection principles in the GCM sends an important signal of support for the rights of migrants from governments of the world.
Refugees International is calling on the United Nations to address climate change-related human mobility in the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, and include protections for persons moving in the context of climate change-related adverse effects, including both sudden- and slow-onset hazards.
In the statement, Refugees International notes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the UN Refugee Agency and the UN Development Program with the Government of Myanmar which would allow the return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. However, RI is deeply concerned that continued impunity, restricted access to aid, and denial of basic human rights in Myanmar’s Rakhine State make repatriation a distant reality at this time.
This week marks the 70th anniversary of UN Peacekeeping. It is a time to reflect on the 134 peacekeepers who lost their lives this past year and to show gratitude to the nearly 105,000 troops, police, civilians, and volunteers - coming from 124 countries - who serve on 14 peacekeeping operations worldwide. After 70 years, UN Peacekeeping remains as relevant as ever.
In the statement, Refugees International makes clear why it urges the U.S. Senate to reject the nomination of Robert Mortensen as the next Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration.
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 prioritiesand this budget proposal, if approved by Congress, would be devastating to lifesaving humanitarian work across the globe.
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.