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Report Highlights Concern Over Politicization of Relief Efforts, Argues Displacement Crisis Not Over, and Criticizes U.S. Policies and Aid
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 26, 2009) - Refugees International released a new field report today on the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan, which provides context for the recent suicide bombings, the siege of Pakistan's military headquarters, and the controversy over U.S. government aid. The report's authors recently returned from Pakistan after weeks of field research and saw first-hand the human devastation caused by violence and ongoing political conflict, including witnessing the aftermath of the World Food Program bombing in Islamabad. Their analysis is the result of on-the-ground research and takes a hard look at how the policies of the U.S. government and the United Nations affect the displaced in Pakistan. According to the report, it is in the strategic interest of the international community, and in particular the U.S., to ensure that Pakistani civilians who remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance do not remain disenfranchised. The report, "Pakistan: Protect People First," highlights:
"Humanitarian aid is a necessity for the thousands of displaced civilians and right now many of those who need aid are being discriminated against," said Patrick Duplat, Refugees International advocate, who co-authored the report and recently returned from a fact-finding trip in Pakistan. "In the Khyber area, civilians told us they fled because of bombings and violence, whereas officials in a refugee camp told us that civilians could not register for aid because there was no conflict, only a 'police operation.' These kinds of semantics on the part of the government are leading to serious consequences for civilians and for the stability of the country."
"The U.S. has shown that Pakistan's stability is a key priority and recent legislation has generously authorized billions of dollars in non-military assistance," said Kristele Younes, Senior Advocate for Refugees International. "The U.S. needs to communicate its objectives for the use of this money, and make it clear that protecting the Pakistani people is a top priority."
To view the full report from Refugees International with updates to its complete situation analysis and policy recommendations, please click here. Report authors Patrick Duplat and Kristèle Younès are available to speak to the findings and the recommendations in the report, having just returned to the United States from Pakistan.
Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises and receives no government or UN funding.