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.
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.