Iraq Hearing: Living up to our Humanitarian Responsibilities both Ethical and Strategic

By Briana Orr

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.

DC's Young Humanitarians show their support

By Refugees International

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.

Kyrgyzstan: Time for the OSCE to live up to its promise

By Dawn Calabia

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.

Strengthening our Humanitarian Commitment to the People of Iraq

By Elizabeth Campbell

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.”

“Renewing the Pledge” and avoiding humanitarian disaster

By Jennifer Smith
The report “Renewing the Pledge” released yesterday by a group of 26 international NGOs and civil society organizations highlighted the urgency of renewed international attention to Sudan. With less than six months to go before referenda in south Sudan and Abyei determine whether they remain united with the north, there is a laundry list of priority issues that still need to be resolved.

A Tribute to Patricia Cronan

By Lionel Rosenblatt
At first glance, one might have had the impression that Patricia Cronan, at best, tolerated her daughter Trish's passion for refugees.

Pat could seem blunt-- puffing on her cigarette, with a skeptical, "I've seen most of life" expression which was true, having raised six daughters and two sons, while also supporting her husband's work.

Ante Up for Africa: Raising money and awareness with poker

By Mirsada Hoffmann

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).

Kyrgyzstan: Rumors and Fears Rule the Region

By Dawn Calabia
In visits with displaced Kyrgyz and Uzbek families, we were met time and time again with frightened people who were not sure what was happening but who believed that their lives were being threatened by the other ethnic group and that their government was not doing enough to help them. Many Kyrgyz and Uzbek families that lived in mixed neighborhoods fear attacks and want to move to mono-ethnic neighborhoods.  

Osh: Unexpected Violence Ravages a Community

By Dawn Calabia
The acrid smell of smoke and piles of rubble characterize once vibrant Uzbek communities in Osh. In the neighborhoods surrounding Osh's famous mountain in the city, Uzbek homes and businesses are now burnt-out shells or piles of rubble. Family members sit on the sidewalk in front of their homes, some pausing from shoveling out broken plaster, others awaiting the delivery of plastic tarps or tents so that they might camp out on their property.

Internally Displaced: Not an Afterthought

By Briana Orr
On Wednesday June 30th, the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement hosted a discussion on how the United States can improve its humanitarian response to crises that leave large numbers of people displaced in their own countries. There are currently 25 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) worldwide who have been uprooted by violence or political persecution.