DR Congo: Kimia II's Impact on Civilians

By Camilla Olson
I last visited Mwenga in February 2009. At the time, we went there to see how people would be impacted if the Rwandan and Congolese militaries expanded their operations against the FDLR rebel group into South Kivu.    

In February, people in Mwenga told us that they were very scared about these joint operations. There is a large presence of FDLR in Mwenga territory and people said that any operations against the rebel group would certainly jeopardize their own security. People were also scared of the Rwandan army returning to the area given its history of past abuses against the local population there. They told us, “if we flee, we don’t know where we’d go, because in the forest is the FDLR who have threatened to attack us, and in town will be the Rwandan military who have targeted us in the past.”

Peacekeeping: RI Testifies on Capitol Hill

By Pamela Snyder

Refugees International was back on Capitol Hill yesterday, as Peacekeeping Advocate Erin Weir testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the challenges currently facing peacekeeping and possible improvements to the operations, said committee chairman Rep. Howard Berman. A distinguished group of witnesses gathered for the hearing, including Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr.

Sudan: Progress on Abyei

By Vanessa Parra

Earlier this week a decision from The Hague determined the boundary between north and south Sudan around the town of Abyei. This particular decision stems from an agreement signed last year, but it marks a part of the peace process occuring in Sudan. Benchmark goals like an election in April of next year and a referendum in 2011 are part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) – a document that marked the end of 21 years of war.

Iraq: Keeping Our Focus

By Jake Kurtzer
While America’s attention has shifted to the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, recent news reports about the targeting of Christian Iraqis have turned a few eyes back towards the violence within Iraq. The targeting of Iraqi Christians portends a return to the attacks on minorities and ethnic strife that led to the massive displacement of civilians from Iraq.

New Head of U.S. Refugee Bureau Will Face Immediate Challenges

By Joel Charny
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today is holding a hearing on the Obama administration’s nomination of Eric Schwartz as the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration. Schwartz will testify and then respond to questions from the Committee. Schwartz’s nomination was long overdue, and Refugees International hopes that the confirmation process will be swift. With the PRM position held by an Acting Assistant Secretary for over a year, and the USAID Administrator and director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance positions also held by placeholders, the Obama administration’s management of its humanitarian responsibilities has been hobbled.

Pakistan: Wake Up Call

By Patrick Duplat

There is a sense in Washington that the magnitude of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Pakistan hasn't been fully grasped yet. The latest offensive by the Pakistani military has forced one and a half million people to leave the Swat and Buner districts in less than three weeks. The UN Refugee Agency stated that the fighting is uprooting more people faster than any conflict since the Rwandan genocide. Even before the most recent military operations, half a million people had fled from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan.

Colombia: Violence Risks Destabilizing the Entire Region

By Andrea Lari
It is always amazing to encounter reactions of surprise from my colleagues when I talk about the enormous number of Colombians that fled their homes and land so that they could save their lives. The overwhelming stereotype that confines Colombia to being the biggest producer and exporter of cocaine in the world often obscures the daily reality that the average Colombian has to face.

DR Congo: Turning a Blind Eye

By Camilla Olson

It’s happened again.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is off of the international radar screen, despite the fact that violence and displacement continue.

Burma: One Year After Cyclone Nargis

By Jake Kurtzer
Anniversaries provide us with many opportunities – to commemorate, to remember, to admonish, to celebrate, to reassess. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Cyclone Nargis, which destroyed 700,000 homes in the Irrawaddy Delta of Burma and killed an estimated 138,000 people. In the press releases that I’ve read in the past few days, a number of organizations are using this anniversary to chastise the Burmese regime for their callousness towards their own population. This is undeniable, but I want to argue that this anniversary should be used for a different purpose – to see what we can do to continue to help the people who suffered from the storm.

Obama’s First 100 Days: A Humanitarian Perspective

By Joel Charny

Assessing President Obama’s first 100 days in office is all the rage in the United States, especially given the high expectations created by his election and the ambitious agenda that he set for his new administration. But the mainstream media are unlikely to apply humanitarian criteria, so it is left to Refugees International to make an initial assessment.

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