Haiti: Increased Protection and aid for the still remaining earthquake survivors

After RI traveled to Haiti, nine months after the devastating earthquake that displaced at least 1.2 million people, it was learned that people were still in desperate situations, lacking food, water and shelter. Thanks largely to RI’s letters, panel-briefings and intimate meetings with leadership officials, the media’s attention was attracted to the poor living conditions, and RI was able to influence change. In response to RI’s efforts, the UNHCR more than tripled its staffing in Haiti to better protect the rights of the earthquake’s vulnerable survivors. Additionally, the World Food Program provided assistance to some 60,000 Haitians living in rural areas that had been neglected.

  • Support for Syrians in Egypt
    In July 2014, the UN Refugee Agency designated additional funding for Syrian refugee operations in Egypt, a move supported by RI after its mission to the country in April.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: Treat Every Camp Equally
    In 2013, RI found that the UN was not assisting at least 200,000 displaced Congolese because they lived in so-called “spontaneous sites,” rather than official camps. Following RI’s request, the UN revamped its approach to camp management and pledged to assist all Congolese IDPs on the basis of need rather than the status of their camp.
  • Central African Republic: Help for Women in Crisis
    After learning that the UN Population Fund was failing to provide post-rape kits in Central African Republic in early 2014, RI and its partners raised this problem with a senior UN official. RI explained that women were arriving at clinics in the hope of preventing sexually-transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy, but treatment was not available. Shortly after this meeting, a large stock of kits arrived in country.
  • A Safety Net for People Displaced by Disasters
    RI’s advocacy was instrumental in convincing the U.S. government to support the Nansen Initiative, which seeks solutions for people who flee their countries as a result of climate-related disasters and are not protected by the 1951 Refugee Convention. RI is also advising in the development of guidelines to better protect and assist these populations.
  • Central African Republic: Preparing for the Peacekeepers
    As violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) escalated in late 2013, RI urged the U.S. to be prepared for an eventual deployment of a new UN peacekeeping mission. To that end, RI and the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping pressed U.S. officials to set aside funds in their budget planning for such an operation. In the March 4 release of his Fiscal Year 2015 budget, President Barack Obama proposed a new $150 million funding mechanism that, if approved, could help support a UN mission in CAR.
  • Syria: Getting Non-Camp Refugees the Aid They Need
    RI has consistently recommended more support for services that assist Syrian refugees outside of camps. Even as many large aid agencies and non-governmental organizations established programming in camps, RI repeatedly noted the lack of support for those living outside of them and requested that donors and service providers pay more attention to this enormous population. Finally, as part of its 2014 regional response plan for Syria, the UN Refugee Agency announced that it would specifically focus more of its efforts on non-camp refugees in the region.
  • Israel: Accepting African Asylum Seekers
    RI spoke with Israeli officials in late 2013 about their failure to recognize Eritreans as refugees, and offered suggestions for improvement. In February 2014, Israel granted asylum to a small number of Eritreans for the first time. RI calls on Israel to accept and evaluate all asylum claims consistent with international law.
  • Internally Displaced People: A Commitment to Protect
    RI played a leading role in encouraging the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to focus on internally displaced people during its December 2013 Protection Dialogue. RI also helped to shape the NGO community’s position for the Dialogue, and ensured that UNHCR made specific and tangible commitments. RI is working with both UNHCR and the U.S. State Department to see that those commitments are met.
  • Syria: More Protection for Women and Girls
    RI was the first NGO to raise the alarm about a lack of programs to address and prevent gender-based violence among displaced Syrians. In November 2013, the UK Department for International Development responded to this shortfall by providing £8.6 million in new funding.