Eric Schwartz, June 19, 2018
Refugees International condemns the separation of children 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 Senior Advocate Daryl Grisgraber and Vice President for Programs and Policy Hardin Lang authored this report, based on their mission to northeast Syria, Turkey, and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in April 2018.
The international community - and the United States, in particular - has an important opportunity to consolidate significant but fragile gains in northeast Syria. As this part of the country has largely emerged from the crisis fomented by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), hundreds of thousands of people have begun to return home.
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. The ship currently carries 629 refugees and migrants rescued from sea off the Libyan coast.
On June 10, Italy’s new Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini declined to allow the Aquarius to dock in Italy, instead calling on Malta to accept the ship. But the government of Malta also refused, and as a result the Aquarius was left with no place to dock.
UN Member States are now more than halfway through the process of developing a Global Compact for Refugees (GRC) and a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). On June 4, UNHCR released a third draft of the GCR (GCR Draft 3) and will lead a fifth round of consultation with States next week in Geneva.
Refugees International (RI) notes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) 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.
Statement for the Record
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing
“Full Committee Hearing Review of the FY 2019 State Department Budget Request”
May 24, 2018
Refugees International (RI) 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 priorities** **and this budget proposal, if approved by Congress, would be devastating to lifesaving humanitarian work across the globe.** **
Refugees International is deeply concerned by the return in recent weeks of thousands of Afghan nationals from Turkey 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.
This Refugees International (RI) report examines the status of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel, as the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to either remove this population from Israel or place large numbers in indefinite detention. The report examines Israeli government policies that have denied protection to asylum seekers and alarming new proposals that would put this vulnerable population in greater peril.
We, UN and non-UN entities, re-affirm our determination to prevent future acts of sexual exploitation and abuse by our personnel.
We note the issuance of this Statement at the High-level Conference on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN and NGO Personnel on 4 December 2006 in New York, USA and welcome future endorsement of this Statement by others.
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 the Rohingya people.
(Athens) – The Greek government’s move on April 20, 2018, overturning a binding court ruling ordering it to end its abusive policy of trapping asylum seekers on Greece’s islands raises rule of law concerns, 21 human rights and humanitarian organizations said today.
By Izza Leghtas
Today, European policies designed to keep asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants from crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Italy are trapping thousands of men, women and children in appalling conditions in Libya. This Refugees International report describes the harrowing experiences of people detained in Libya’s notoriously abusive immigration detention system where they are exposed to appalling conditions and grave human rights violations, including arbitrary detention and physical and sexual abuse.
The process to draft and adopt a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) is well under way. Since releasing an initial draft of the Compact in January, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has convened three rounds of formal consultations in Geneva among UN Member States. There are three additional rounds scheduled before the text is to be finalized in advance of the UN General Assembly in September 2018.
Refugees International (RI) is dismayed 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 earlier agreement, detailed just hours prior to this cancellation announcement, which would have not only opened up additional refugee resettlement opportunities to Western countries for more than 16,000 African asylum seekers but would have provided temporary status inside Israel for more than 16,000 members of this vulnerable population.
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.
Last week, the war in Syria entered its eighth year. On this gruesome anniversary, the nature and scope of the humanitarian tragedy continue 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. Aid convoys to besieged populations were once again blocked or delayed. More Syrians were blocked from seeking refuge in neighboring countries. International diplomacy did little to protect millions of Syrians trapped by the conflict.
Governments around the world have a critical opportunity this year to make systematic improvements to how the world assists and protects refugees and migrants. In September 2016, UN member states adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, in which they committed to improve planning for and response to large movements of refugees and migrants. As part of this process, UN member states pledged to create and adopt both a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) by the fall of 2018.
Gail Chalef, Senior Communications Officer
(202) 540-7026, office • (202) 290-8608, cell
Politics not Conditions Driving Plans to Return More than One Million Displaced Persons in Northeast Nigeria, Putting Lives at Risk