Francisca Vigaud-Walsh, Eric Schwartz, and Gabriela Dehesa-Azuara
Ahead of the First Formal Consultations for the Global Compact on Refugees, 14 international NGOs and InterAction signed a statement in which they reflect on the Zero Draft of the Global Compact on Refugees, including their recommendations to ensure that the Compact leads to a better response to the large movement of refugees, greater equity across States, and support refugees to live in safety and dignity.
The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson, Secretary of State of the United States of America
Dear Secretary Tillerson,
As organizations that provide and advocate for life-saving assistance in Yemen, we write to urge your continued efforts to seek a permanent end to the Saudi-led coalition’s restrictions on humanitarian and commercial access to Yemen’s ports, particularly Hodeidah and Saleef. Furthermore, we urge you to redouble your efforts to mobilize political will and realize a political settlement to Yemen’s deadly conflict.
Washington, D.C. – Today, the leaders of 21 leading organizations involved in international humanitarian response sent a letter to the Trump Administration objecting “in the strongest terms” to the U.S. decision to withhold $65 million in planned U.S. contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Refugees International notes with alarm reports that Bangladesh and Myanmar have reached agreement on repatriation of Rohingya refugees to begin as early as January 23. The two governments reportedly reached this agreement at a bilateral meeting of a Joint Working Group on Returns held on January 16 in Naypyitaw, Myanmar's capital.
TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS FOR EL SALVADOR
In early 2018, the Trump Administration will decide the fate of some 200,000 Salvadorans who are living in the United States. By January 8, the Secretary of Homeland Security must decide whether or not to extend the designation of El Salvador as a Temporary Protected Status (TPS)-designated country. Should the Secretary decide not to extend TPS, some 200,000 Salvadorans will be subject to deportation.
In late September 2017, Hurricane Maria, one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record, directly struck the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. The hurricane resulted in catastrophic damage to critical infrastructure and left the island’s entire population of 3.4 million people literally and figuratively in the dark, and in urgent need of life-saving humanitarian assistance.
The suffering of civilians and forced displacement of ethnic minorities by Myanmar’s military goes beyond the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in the west of the country. In northern Myanmar, nearly 100,000 people continue to live in displacement camps in Kachin and northern Shan States. Most were first displaced by fighting between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army in 2011, and many have been displaced multiple times, including in recent months.
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). To date, European efforts have focused on stopping refugees and migrants from reaching Italy’s shores and enabling the Libyan coast guard to return them to Libya.
Inaction Will Enable Further Abuse of Vulnerable Rohingya
(New York) – The United Nations Security Council should take prompt, concerted, and effective international action to respond to Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis, Human Rights Watch and 80 other nongovernmental organizations said today in a joint appeal to the council.
By Izza Leghtas and Ann Hollingsworth
While refugees are allowed to seek employment under Turkish law, legal jobs are largely inaccessible for the vast majority of refugees in Turkey. In its study, “I Am Only Looking for My Rights”: Legal Employment Still Inaccessible to Refugees in Turkey, Refugees International examines the challenges and consequences facing refugees as they seek employment in Turkey. The study is based on a October 2017 research mission.
Following the violent expulsion of some 400,000 Rohingya in Myanmar in the course of three weeks (now more than 500,000), Refugees International (RI) President Eric Schwartz and Senior Advocate for Human Rights Daniel Sullivan traveled to Bangladesh to assess the situation and bear witness. This policy brief is based on that mission, which involved interviews with Rohingya refugees who recently arrived from Myanmar as well as with United Nations and Bangladesh government officials and international aid workers in Bangladesh.
The Policy and Advocacy Task Team of the Gender-based Violence Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR) 1 recognizes the continuing generosity of the Government and people of Bangladesh in keeping their borders open to the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict and violence in Myanmar.
The GBVAoR, in support of the Bangladesh GBV Sub-Sector, calls upon donors and states to:
After the liberation of Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS) occupation in July 2017, Refugees International (RI) traveled to Iraq to examine the specific challenges faced by women and girls in the aftermath of the military operation. Among the most urgent issues are the detention and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of Iraqi women and girls perceived or alleged to be affiliated with ISIS by Iraqi Security Forces and other Iraqi authorities.
We, a global coalition of 88 civil society organizations, urgently call upon UN member states to take immediate steps to address the human rights abuses and humanitarian catastrophe engulfing Myanmar's ethnic Rohingya population. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein have described the Myanmar security forces' ongoing campaign against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State as ethnic cleansing.
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 (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.
By Mark Yarnell and Alice Thomas