Central African Republic: New Money for IDPs and Refugees
The U.S. government announced nearly $51 million in additional humanitarian support to Central African Republic and neighboring countries. This comes after an RI report in April highlighted the huge gaps in humanitarian funding for the country. The money will help those displaced within CAR as well as refugees in neighboring countries.
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
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.
South Sudan: Additional Nationality Offices Provide Documentation to Citizens
RI asked South Sudan's government to open local nationality offices to serve rural populations and minority tribal groups and reduce the risk of statelessness. In November 2012, South Sudan announced that it would open these offices in each of its ten states. As of October 2013, six offices had opened.
Women & Girls: State Department Launches New Initiative
In response to RI's repeated calls for the U.S. government to do more to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in humanitarian crises, the State Department launched “Safe From the Start,” a $10 million initiative to protect women and girls.
Myanmar: Ban on the Importation of Gemstones Extended
In July 2013, RI and supporters demanded that the U.S. Congress renew a ban on the importation of Myanmar gemstones, which fuel corruption and human rights abuses in ethnic minority regions. While Congress did not act, President Obama signed an executive order to extend the ban.
South Sudan: U.S. House of Representatives Addresses SPLA Abuse
In line with RI’s recommendations in its July 2013 report, the U.S. House of Representatives added language to its Appropriations bill requiring a report on whether South Sudan is “investigating and punishing members of security forces who have violated human rights” before aid to the country is released.
DRC: UN Considers Changes to GBV Response
The UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, spurred largely by the findings in RI's spring 2013 report. In addition, a member of the UN's Gender-based Violence Rapid Response Team was sent to the country to consider overhauling its coordination system, which RI had urged.
DRC: Additional UNHCR Staff Deployed to the East
After RI raised concerns about the lack of adequate camp coordination staff in the DRC, the UN Refugee Agency requested an additional five staff be deployed to eastern Congo.
Statelessness: Protections Approved by the U.S. Senate
A comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate includes unprecedented protections for stateless people in the United States.
Syria: U.S. Contributes $155 million in Aid
In January 2013, RI briefed State Department officials on the need to fund the UN’s humanitarian appeal for Syrians. Weeks later, at a donor conference in Kuwait City, 60 nations pledged a combined $1.5 billion in aid. The American delegation contributed $155 million.
Syria: Turkey Begins Registration of Syrian Refugees
In December 2012, RI called on Turkey to establish a registration process, in coordination with the United Nations Refugee Agency as a fundamental protection measure for Syrian refugees not living in camps. In spring 2013, Turkey began registering Syrian refugees living outside of camps, which will allow tens of thousands of city-dwelling Syrians to access lifesaving aid.
Sahel: U.S. State Department appoints a regional refugee coordinator
After visiting the Sahel, RI’s advocates pressed the U.S. State Department to appoint a regional refugee coordinator who would ensure that assistance reaches the most vulnerable refugees and host communities. That position has now been authorized.
Somaliland: UN assigns three additional officers to coordinate aid for displaced Somalis
After RI called on the UN to better coordinate aid for displaced Somalis in Somaliland, the UN assigned three additional officers to the region for that purpose.