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.
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.
President Obama’s speech to the Muslim World in Cairo was a complete home run.
He highlighted the shared religious values of peace and justice that unify the People of the Book--Jews, Christians and Muslims who live by their Holy texts, the Talmud, the Bible and the Koran. He addressed the differences that currently divide the faiths, and he proposed paths for dialogue, partnership and peace in the future.
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.
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.
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.