Haitian Disaster Spotlights Funding Gaps for Humanitarian Crises

By Elizabeth Campbell

There is no doubt that thousands of Haitians are suffering from an enormous disaster that warrants a strong international humanitarian response. Refugees International supports the relief efforts underway, as it’s clear that immediate humanitarian assistance is critical.  In the coming weeks and months we hope the crisis will stabilize, allowing for longer-term thinking about reconstruction and development. As Haiti moves away from this tragic event toward a brighter future, countries and aid groups must remain engaged and committed. Anything less may result in a protracted or chronic humanitarian crisis for the people of Haiti. 

Refugees International Statement on Haiti Earthquake

By Refugees International

The following statement was made by Acting President, Joel Charny, in response to the devastation created by the earthquake in Haiti on January 12.

Iraq: Future Tied to Resolution of Refugee Situation

By Elizabeth Campbell
Iraq’s vice-president has vetoed part of the country’s new election law, placing the planned elections for January in jeopardy because he objected to the lack of parliamentary representation of refugees.  This bold step should remind the international community that, as most attention and resources have shifted east to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iraq’s refugees have not disappeared.  As the delay of this critical law shows, it is clear that Iraq’s domestic politics are intricately tied to the refugee question.

Burma: Opening the Door

By Sean Garcia
The dialogue is changing. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and his deputy Scot Marceil visited Burma and held talks with Burmese officials and Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi. It is the highest-level visit to Burma in more than a decade, and follows the State Department’s September announcement of its Burma Policy Review, which began shortly after President Obama took office. 

Pakistan: Inconvenient Truths

By Patrick Duplat

“When they realize you’re a Mehsud, they treat you like a suicide bomber who’s wearing an explosive jacket.” -A displaced Pakistani from South Waziristan, quoted in Dawn

Stronger Humanitarian Plan Needed in US Policy Review

By Limnyuy Konglim

The long awaited release of the new US policy on Sudan outlines several key points that lay the framework for lasting peace there. With a focus on a comprehensive approach to Sudan, the US administration recognizes the importance that peace in Darfur, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and border safety play in establishing and maintaining stability for the people of Sudan. It is refreshing to see a US strategy that takes a holistic approach, recognizing the commitment made to all Sudanese people and the strength of US leadership in the international community.

Pakistan: An Update from the Field

By Andi Palley
On Tuesday at the Brookings Institution, Refugees International advocates Kristele Younes and Patrick Duplat presented on their recent mission to Pakistan. The country is facing a complex humanitarian emergency, and many people who were displaced by the military operations during the summer are still unable to return home. Moreover, the humanitarian community and the United Nations face many challenges in working with the Pakistani government to deliver aid.

Somalia: Providing Aid in Difficult Places

By Joel Charny
Somalia may be the most difficult place to provide aid in the world. The needs are tremendous after years of conflict and drought. The central government controls a few square blocks of the capital and is under threat from an Islamist insurgency that includes both local and foreign elements. Infrastructure is badly degraded. In such a resource poor environment, aid itself has a value out of proportion to its actual cost.

Burma: A Better Future for All Burmese

By Sean Garcia
Earlier today the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific held a hearing on US policy towards Burma. The hearing was held in the interest of exploring options for dialogue and engagement with the government of Burma, and was long-overdue in a Washington policy context that has been dominated by debate over sanctions. Today’s hearing will be followed up next week by a similar hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and also echoes the recently-released State Department Burma policy review which makes engagement the policy of the day. 

Sounding the Alarm: A Civilian ‘Surge’ Needed to Restore U.S. Foreign Policy

By Matt Pennington
The Obama administration is facing a critical juncture in American foreign policy. As U.S. civilian programs have been chronically underfunded and understaffed over the last several decades, there is growing consensus that our approach to global engagement is in dire need of repair. This concern has only grown stronger in the wake of ongoing U.S. military-led operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and widespread concerns about the reliance on and inappropriate use of U.S. military in non-combat activities abroad. We can no longer afford to view American foreign policy simply through the lens of increased U.S. military might.  The problems around the globe – including humanitarian crises related to displacement -- are too complex and require a multi-faceted approach.
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