Famine Looms in Somalia as Crisis Marks 20th Year

By Elizabeth Campbell
The potential famine looming in Somalia is not being met with any sense of urgency by the U.S. Government. The humanitarian arm of USAID is currently frozen while the U.S. debates a new policy on the provision of humanitarian assistance in south and central Somalia. If the spring rains fail, recent assessments indicate that nearly five million people in southern and central Somalia will struggle to meet their basic food and water requirements for survival in the coming months.

US Budget: America's Humanitarian Legacy is at Risk

By Matt Pennington
Budgets matter.  They show us two things: 1) how our government is spending our scarce resources; and 2) where our national values and priorities lie.

Yesterday, President Obama unveiled his budget request for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12). His budget proposal comes a mere three days after the fledgling GOP House leadership unveiled its plan to fund the U.S. government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.  The two documents – the President’s FY12 budget and the House of Representatives' GOP FY11 spending plan – both display starkly different visions for U.S. spending abroad.

President’s Corner: State of the Union offers little on foreign affairs

By Michel Gabaudan

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama focused, as is custom, essentially on domestic issues, support for America’s troops and the key challenges ahead. His reference to foreign policy was brief, but he began with a welcome call for “a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.”

American leadership on international issues has long been an essential component to promoting peace and stability worldwide. For example, the President rightly extolled America’s efforts in driving and supporting the process that has led to the remarkably peaceful referendum in Sudan. This is no small accomplishment given the checkered recent past of the country.

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.
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