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This post originally appeared at The Hill's Congress Blog.
“I will never be the same. I am not the same as before. That’s the hardest thing.” With these lines Paula, one of Colombia’s more than 4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), started to recount the most excruciating part of her life’s story.
By now you may have heard that refugee marathoner Guor Marial, who was featured on this blog last week, has been allowed to compete as an independent athlete at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The decision, which was confirmed to RI in a letter from International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, is a triumph for Guor and his supporters - some of whom worked tirelessly for months to make his Olympic dream a reality.
In early June, RI visited a clinic in the city of Mafraq in northern Jordan that served refugees along with its regular Jordanian patients. There we met Hala, a woman who had left Syria with her young son. The child’s father had not been able to leave the country, so the two of them had arrived alone and were relying on the goodwill of friends and neighbors to keep them going.
Yesterday's showdown over sanctions in the UN Security Council demonstrated once again that the world can't agree on how to stop the bloodshed in Syria - which begs the question, "Whither Syria?" Or, perhaps more importantly, "Whither the Syrians?"
This week, thousands of athletes and staff are arriving in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which kick off on July 27. But there is one deserving athlete whose invitation hasn't yet arrived. His name is Guor Marial, and last month he qualified for the Olympic marathon with the blistering time of 2 hours, 12 minutes, and 55 seconds.
As the new Senior Advocate for Women & Children’s Rights, I am thrilled to join the RI team and lead this important program to improve access to basic services and protection for women and girls displaced by conflict and crisis.