Just over three years ago, the Zaatari refugee camp was established to accommodate the growing number of Syrian refugees who were fleeing to the neighbouring country of Jordan. Located around 70 kilometres from the capital city of Amman and 30 kilometres from the Syrian border, Zaatari occupies a space of some seven square kilometres and currently houses around 80,000 refugees.

Michael Boyce's picture

Being forced to flee your home is a life-altering experience. Packing a bag, bidding farewell to your land and livelihood, and leading your children into the unknown – all of this can indelibly divide a life history into ‘before’ and ‘after.’ Many people never get over the trauma of flight, and never give up hope that they will one day return to the land and people they love. 

Mark Yarnell's picture

Last week, intercommunal fighting in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, resulted in over 40 deaths and caused more than 40,000 people to flee to various displacement camps sites around the city. The violence erupted following the murder of a Muslim taxi driver, pitting armed Muslim and Christian groups against each other. The streets also filled with protesters calling for the ouster of interim president Catherine Samba-Panza, who was in New York at the time for the United Nations General Assembly.

Sarnata Reynolds's picture

This week, in a stifling hot room in Malaysia filled with more than 50 Rohingya refugees, my own work with the community came full circle. I was sitting among dozens of people who had fled the very same displacement camps in Sittwe, Myanmar that I had visited twice before in 2012 and 2014. When I arrived in September 2012, Rohingya were still entering the camps and there was almost no clean water, food, or shelter. People were literally starving. It was the worst situation I had ever witnessed. 

Refugees International's picture

The following is Michel Gabaudan's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on The U.S. Role and Strategy in the Middle East: The Humanitarian Crisis on September 29, 2015. A video of the hearing is available here

Alice Thomas's picture

All eyes are on Washington this week as Pope Francis makes his historic first trip to the U.S. This morning, he’ll address lawmakers on Capitol Hill, marking the first time a Pope has addressed a joint meeting of Congress. Climate change is undoubtedly one if the issues on his agenda. Earlier this year the pope released his Laudito Si encyclical in which he laid out the moral case for greater protection of the environment, natural resources, and the Earth's climate. 

Earlier this year, the world watched in both horror and sadness as thousands of desperate Rohingya who had fled persecution in Myanmar were abandoned on boats without food or water. As countless numbers died of dehydration and starvation each day, neighboring countries quarreled over who should take them in and how limited their assistance would be. Finally, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to accept up to 7,000 Rohingya, but only on the condition that they would be resettled out of their countries within a year. 

Michael Boyce's picture

On August 20, 2015, Pierre Nkurunziza took the oath of office for the third time as Burundi’s president. His inauguration followed one of the most explosive periods in this small Central African nation’s recent history. 

For months prior, opposition activists and world leaders condemned Nkurunziza’s third run for office, arguing that the peace deal which ended Burundi’s 1993-2005 civil war limited the president to two terms. The country was seized by protests, a coup attempt, and the jailing or killing of opposition activists, officials, and journalists. 

The needs of refugees and displaced people are outstripping the resources and capacities of the existing humanitarian system. The World Humanitarian Summit is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General to seek solutions to improve the humanitarian system, thereby reducing human suffering. It will be held on May 26-27, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Michel Gabaudan's picture

The 18-month, Russian-backed rebellion of eastern Ukraine has displaced more than 1.4 million residents from the eastern Donbas region into central and western Ukraine. It has cost nearly 7,000 lives, brought the economy of eastern Ukraine ̶ the economic and industrial heartland of the country ̶ to a standstill, and is putting increasing stress on a government bent on addressing the challenges of political reform, widespread corruption, as well as economic and structural adjustments.

Since the Islamist insurgency group Boko Haram began scaling up its attacks on civilians, an estimated 1.3 million Nigerians have been internally displaced and at least another 150,000 have taken refuge in neighboring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon. The exodus of Nigerians fleeing the country’s northeastern region for government-sponsored camps or host communities has intensified the pressure on already scarce natural resources. 

Mark Yarnell's picture

Earlier today, I was in touch with a Somali friend, Farah, who has been living as a refugee in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, for the past several years after he fled fighting in Somalia. I asked him what he thought about President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya this week.  He said, “I am happy. I hope he talks about refugee rights.”  He then said, “The talk of everyone in Nairobi is that the most powerful man on earth is coming to Kenya.” 

Sarnata Reynolds's picture

Editor's Note: This blog by Sarnata Reynolds and Tori Duoos originally appeared on the website of the European Network on Statelessness.

Refugees International's picture
The following is Ann Hollingsworth's testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on July 9, 2015. A video of the hearing is available here


Daryl Grisgraber's picture

The conflict that began in Syria in March 2011 has now endured through four winters, with a fifth one on the way. If it seems too early to be thinking about preparing the displaced for winter, consider that each of the past four winters in the region has been greeted with insufficient planning, funding shortfalls, and program cuts. It shouldn’t be possible that winter takes us by surprise— winter arrives whether there’s a displacement crisis or not. But for the past four years, humanitarians have struggled to meet the needs of displaced Syrians as the weather gets colder.