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On Thursday July 22nd, The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, known as The Helsinki Commission, hosted a hearing to examine the humanitarian situation for displaced and vulnerable Iraqis. The hearing was titled “No Way Home, No Way to Escape” an apt description of the plight of approximately two million Iraqis who have been forced to flee their homes in the last seven years of U.S. engagement in Iraq.
Last Thursday, young professionals in DC gathered at Hudson Restaurant & Lounge for the launching of Refugees International’s newest offset, the Young Humanitarian Circle. Initially, we were shooting for 30 guests but young humanitarians in DC showed us that a good cause coupled with an RI advocate reporting on a recent trip to the Congo, can reel in many interesting, compassionate, and involved individuals! At 7 pm, guests started filtering in and by the end of the night, there were about 150 people showing their enthusiasm for the new group within RI.
This Thursday is an important date for the 58 members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, (OSCE). Tomorrow OSCE will decide whether to approve the immediate deployment and funding for 52 police advisors to Kyrgyzstan. This, coupled with the quick recruitment and deployment of experienced police professionals, could provide a tangible lifeline to hold south and north together and to rekindle hope for impartial justice. It could bring the return of rule of law to the conflict-plagued people of the south Kyrgyzstan.
Next month the United States will have completed the withdrawal of half of its combat troops, bringing the number down to 50,000. According to the Status of Forces Agreement, the remaining troops should leave by the end of 2011. Most Americans have long since turned their attention away from Iraq, but as Patrick Cockburn in The Independent recently wrote, “American troops leave behind a country that is a barely floating wreck.”
When the average person thinks about Las Vegas, they probably do not associate this resort city with charity and generous action to support people in devastated African countries. Yet this past weekend, hundreds of people turned up to support Ante Up for Africa, the poker tournament with the sole purpose of raising awareness and funds to end human suffering and atrocities happening in Sudan, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).