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The ongoing conflict between the Sudans affects daily life for everyone here, whether through fuel shortages or price inflation. But beyond the conflict zone itself, few have been more affected than the hundreds of thousands of southern Sudanese returning from the north.
With Robin Bronen, Executive Director,
Alaska Immigration Justice Project
Introduction by Alice Thomas, Climate Displacement
Program Manager, Refugees International
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
12:30 – 2:30 pm
2001 S Street NW, Suite 700
Washington DC (map)
A coworker here at RI was recently talking about the emotional impact of being a refugee. There is of course the psychological trauma sparked by conflict or disaster, the fear and uncertainty about how to survive, and often depression or anxiety about the family, friends, or opportunities left behind. But this coworker also mentioned the emotional strength that’s required to face the future as a refugee.
Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson has been in Cartagena, Colombia, for the Summit of the Americas. This is his final diary entry from the trip, but do check out his first, second, and third entries as well.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the next steps America would take in its tit-for-tat rapprochement with Burma. Her announcement followed the (by most accounts) successful Burmese by-elections, in which Aung San Suu Kyi's once-banned political party won 43 of the 45 open seats.
Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson is in Cartagena, Colombia, this week for the Summit of the Americas. Click here to read his final entry.
Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson is in Cartagena, Colombia, this week for the Summit of the Americas. He'll be recording his activities and impressions on our blog throughout the trip. Click here to read Part III.
Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson is in Cartagena, Colombia, this week for the Summit of the Americas. Click here to read his second entry.
Yesterday was consumed by flights (DC to Houston, Houston to Bogota, Bogota to Cartagena) and long delays at the airports in between. This provided plenty of time to occupy the mind with reading.
Every day is a busy one here at RI. It seems like there are always meetings to run to, little tasks to perform, and endless emails to answer.
So it’s a welcome change to be able to step back from the desk and really think about the big picture: Are we being as efficient as we can be? Are our messages getting to the people who need to hear them? And are we really capitalizing on the energy of our supporters – people like you!
In early March, the government of Kuwait was taking some positive steps. All stateless bidoun who had been arrested during and after December 2011/January 2012 gatherings were released on bond, while members of parliament were interrogating the prime minister over long-time ill treatment of the bidoun community. It also seemed that the government would finally provide nationality documents to 34,000 bidoun and begin adjudicating at least 80,000 other applications before the parliament’s Bidoun Committee.
Advocacy groups like RI are in the business of trying to make things better. One knock-on effect of that mission is that even when good things happen, we can't relax or rest on our laurels. Instead, we have to go back to work the next day and start pressing for something even better.
But I must confess that even though I work in advocacy, I get irritated by this tendency at times. Every so often, I wish that we could just stop for a moment and take pleasure in the fact that something has gotten better.