Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson is in Cartagena, Colombia, this week for the Summit of the Americas. Click here to read his final entry.
Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson is in Cartagena, Colombia, this week for the Summit of the Americas. He'll be recording his activities and impressions on our blog throughout the trip. Click here to read Part III.
Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson is in Cartagena, Colombia, this week for the Summit of the Americas. Click here to read his second entry.
Yesterday was consumed by flights (DC to Houston, Houston to Bogota, Bogota to Cartagena) and long delays at the airports in between. This provided plenty of time to occupy the mind with reading.
Advocacy groups like RI are in the business of trying to make things better. One knock-on effect of that mission is that even when good things happen, we can't relax or rest on our laurels. Instead, we have to go back to work the next day and start pressing for something even better.
But I must confess that even though I work in advocacy, I get irritated by this tendency at times. Every so often, I wish that we could just stop for a moment and take pleasure in the fact that something has gotten better.
Mark Yarnell, RI's advocate for the Horn of Africa, appeared on Capitol Hill following his recent mission to Kenya and Ethiopia. He told members of Congress that political leverage (not just aid money) is needed to ensure Somali refugees get the help they need.
As Mark told members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives, "where we do have control, and where we do have access, it is our responsibility to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are being met."
On March 20th, longstanding members of the Washington Circle were joined by new friends and supporters at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Nearly 70 guests took time from their busy schedules to join us for a spring luncheon and briefings by RI Board Member and author Roya Hakakian and RI Statelessness Program Manager Sarnata Reynolds.
Last week, my colleague Erin Weir and I travelled to Kalehe territory in South Kivu. In the village of Kambali, we spoke to host families and displaced people who fled fighting in January between two armed groups: the Raia Mutomboki and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
This post originally appeared on The Hill's Congress Blog.
Driving from Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo, I prepare myself for certain things. I know I will be confronted with extreme poverty. I know I will meet people who are facing hardships that would be unendurable to many. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the incredible beauty of the country.
A "complex security and humanitarian crisis.” That’s how Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) described the situation for Latin America's refugees and displaced people at Tuesday’s panel discussion, Refugees, Displacement, and Hemispheric Stability in Latin America, on Capitol Hill.
The first Syrian family we met in northern Lebanon included 18 people spanning three generations. The matriarch was probably no more than 60 years old, and the youngest member was a baby of 42 days.
We sat with the family for more than an hour, asking them about their experiences in Syria and as refugees, and we asked what they needed. The new mother almost immediately said that she needed baby formula. The other women nodded in agreement, adding that they also needed fresh fruit and vegetables, and meat.