Over the past year, persistent and unprecedented rains have resulted in massive flooding in Colombia that has affected close to 3 million people. In March 2011, Refugees International sent a team to assess the situation.
Durante el año pasado, lluvias persistentes y sin precedente dieron como resultado inundaciones masivas en Colombia las cuales han afectado cerca de tres millones de personas. En marzo de 2011 Refugees International (RI) envió un equipo
para evaluar la situación.
A new report by the Open Society Justice Initiative and Refugees International looks at the bidoon in Kuwait—a large population of stateless persons in the small emirate—as well as other citizenship-related issues.
In July 2010, massive rain in Pakistan led to unprecedented flooding that submerged one-fifth of the country and affected more than 20 million people. While many experts believe the floods were the result of climate change, others say the science is uncertain. Regardless, most agree that natural disasters are occurring more frequently and that the international community is ill-equipped to respond. It is estimated that by 2050, as many as 200 million people will be displaced by natural disasters and climate change. The world’s poorest and most crisis-prone countries will be disproportionately affected.
The clock is ticking fast towards what might be the most important date in modern Sudanese history – two referenda in Sudan that are likely to result in the breakup of Africa’s largest state. With six months remaining until 9 January 2011, the scheduled date of the referenda, the run-up to, and outcome of, the vote must be managed with extreme care. The Guarantors to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), who invested considerable effort in obtaining the CPA on 9 January 2005, have both a responsibility and an ability to help Sudan implement the CPA and prevent further conflict. It is imperative that the Guarantors urgently redouble their efforts to ensure adequate preparations for the referenda, and help secure agreements on sensitive issues such as border demarcation and oil sharing.

When violent conflict breaks out, the United States and other United Nations member states often call for the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces to create stability and protect people from harm. The UN Security Council has explicitly instructed peacekeepers to protect civilians under “imminent threat of violence” in most UN peacekeeping mandates since 1999. But there is no clarity as to what “protection” means in practice. Which circumstances require action and what level of force should be used? This has resulted in a lack of proper training, guidance and resources for peacekeepers to accomplish protection activities.

When former Secretary of State Dean Acheson wrote of “the Eclipse of the State Department” in a 1971 article for Foreign Affairs, he could not have been more prescient towards the position of the Department in 2009. Dwarfed by the Department of Defense in terms of budget, personnel and capacity, State and the Agency for International Development (USAID) have atrophied nearly to the point of irretrievability. This paper describes the causes and effects of the lack of human capital and capacity at State and USAID and offers suggestions on how to rebuild these capacities.
The brutal reality of modern day conflict and the recognition of an international responsibility to protect civilians in times of crisis has made peacekeeping more important — and more controversial — than ever.
The world community is no longer silent about statelessness. In recent years, countries such as Bangladesh, Estonia, Mauritania, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have made significant strides to protect the rights of stateless persons.
Statelessness, or the lack of effective nationality, impacts the daily lives of some 11-12 million people around the world. Perhaps those who suffer most are stateless infants, children and youth. Though born and raised in their parents’ country of habitual residence, they lack formal recognition of their existence.

In his introduction to the 2002 National Security Strategy, President Bush said: “America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones.” Failing states with weak state institutions struggle to deliver services to their population or to control corruption and are at risk of ongoing conflict.

Millions of Afghans need help rebuilding their lives and country. The U.S. and other donor nations must allocate resources to tackle problems that are specific to vulnerable Afghans.  The humanitarian situation is worsening in Afghanistan.
Five years after the US -led invasion, Iraq remains a deeply violent and divided society. Faced with one of the largest displacement and humanitarian crises in the world, Iraqi civilians are in urgent need of assistance. Particularly vulnerable are the 2.7 million internally displaced Iraqis who have fled their homes for safer locations inside Iraq.

Sexual violence defines the conflict in Darfur, but international efforts to prevent and respond to the issue have been insufficient. While this report critiques the international response, the primary obstacles to preventing rape and assisting survivors are the perpetrators and the Sudanese government officials who actively block the work of international agencies.


Being forcibly displaced because of violence and conflict is an experience that millions of Colombians have lived through for over four decades. While all Colombian society is permeated by this traumatic reality, displacement is mainly hitting those living in rural areas with devastating impact on the lives of campesino, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.

El desplazamiento forzado producto de la violencia y el conflicto es una experiencia que millones de colombianos han afrontado por más de cuatro décadas. Aunque la sociedad colombiana en su totalidad se ha visto perjudicada por esta traumática realidad, son aquellos viviendo en las zonas rurales quienes se han sido mayormente afectados por el desplazamiento, el cual ha tenido un impacto devastador en las vidas de comunidades campesinas, indígenas y afrocolombianas.
Refugees International visited Kuwait to look into the plight of 90,000-130,000 bidun, Arabic for “without” and short for bidun jinsiya (without citizenship). Over the years, the bidun have been called by various names. Early on they were benignly called “awlaad al-badiya,” (children of the desert). At present, they are officially — and more ominously — designated as illegal residents.
The Bunong people of Cambodia are a people under siege. One of several hill tribe groups that inhabit the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam border highlands, the Bunong (also referred to as the Phnong) lead a precarious existence in their traditional forest homeland in the highlands of eastern Cambodia. Survivors of the wars that ravaged Southeast Asia in the 1970s, the Bunong today face new internal and outside forces that threaten their continued existence.
Mass rape, often perpetrated by members of the Sudanese armed forces and affiliated militias, is endemic in the Darfur region of Sudan. Government officials deny that rape is an integral part of violence in Darfur and assert that Sudan aggressively punishes rape. In fact, rape victims suffer from an almost complete lack of access to justice, and the Government is more likely to take action against those who report and document rape than those who commit it.
Four years after the U.S. launched its attack against Iraq, the civil war there has produced a humanitarian crisis marked by the world’s fastest growing refugee and internally displaced populations. But Iraq, Washington and the U.N. do not acknowledge the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis. This has led to an inadequate response, both within Iraq and in the region.
In April 2006, the UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, presented the humanitarian community with a challenge – and an opportunity. With the intention to improve NGO global relief and recovery, President Clinton launched a six-month intensive review by U.S. and international NGOs of their activities in tsunami recovery in five critically important areas: accountability to affected populations; coordination; enhancing local capacity; human rights and recovery; and NGO professionalism.
For more than a decade, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has struggled with one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Yet, improbably, that situation has improved markedly over the past few years. Seventy percent of the electorate has voted in the first democratic contest for president in four decades; violence in the east has eased, largely due to the presence of the UN peacekeeping force, MONUC; and humanitarian response has improved even as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees begin to return home.
Burma is experiencing one of the most neglected humanitarian and human rights crises in the world. No less than half a million people are internally displaced in the eastern part of the country and at least one million more have fled to neighboring nations. This report provides an in-depth look at the causes of displacement in Burma, the acute needs of the internally displaced population and the current response to those needs.
A six-hour bus ride from Bangladesh’s capital city, Dhaka, put us in Rangpur just before 5:30 p.m., with the last rays of daylight all but gone. The population of this northwestern city includes 30,000 Urdu-speaking Bihari. Our first stop was an area called Camp Three where we conversed with the leader of the stranded Pakistanis, Mr. Alhaj Nasim Khan.
Syria is at a critical crossroads, faced with a timely opportunity to maintain stability and security in the country by realizing the nationality and its concomitant rights of all residents. In particular, an estimated 300,000 stateless Kurds live within the country’s borders, but are in a unique situation in relation to the larger Kurdish population due to a 1962 census that led to their denationalization.
Over one year ago, the U.S. government declared that the killing in Darfur was genocide. Proclaiming the slogan “African solutions to African problems,” the United States, NATO member states, and members of the United Nations Security Council turned the responsibility for resolving the Darfur crisis over to the African Union (AU).
In early 2004, abuses by peacekeepers in the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) made international headlines and were subsequently the subject of UN Security Council meetings and US Congressional hearings. However, sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers is not limited to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Every person has the right to a nationality.  Yet statelessness continues to be a fundamental cause of discrimination, exploitation, and forced displacement in all regions of the world.  Statelessness is a highly complex legal and often political issue with a disproportionate impact on women, children, and ethnically mixed families.