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As a result of our advocacy on behalf of the millions of people who have been displaced by the conflict in Colombia, in 2009 the U.S. Congress increased funding for Colombian refugees in nearby countries. This included support for Ecuador’s Enhanced Registration Process, a key component of that country’s refugee policy reform.
In line with our recommendations, in 2009 the U.S. provided substantial funding to the UN Refugee Agency’s Iraq programs and supported programs that prevent and respond to violence against displaced women. The U.S. also continued its resettlement program, admitting over 18,800 Iraqis last year.
Refugees International led the call to increase assistance to displaced Iraqis and in 2009 the House of Representatives passed legislation calling for stronger policies to protect and assist displaced Iraqis and to encourage the Government of Iraq to actively address the problem.
In 2009, Congress appropriated $296 million to Sudan and directed the State Department to prioritize funding for projects in south Sudan in support of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
For the last few years, Refugees International has been one of the few organizations calling on policy makers to address the rising tensions in south Sudan and to support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended 22 years of war. Throughout 2009, more voices echoed our call and U.S. policy makers finally responded. The Obama Administration released its new policy on Sudan, and outlined the implementation of the peace agreement as one of three strategic objectives.
Throughout 2009, RI met actively with State Department officials and Congressional appropriators to encourage greater aid for the Burmese people. Because of our leadership on this issue, Congress provided some $36 million for democracy and humanitarian programs largely inside Burma, a major shift in U.S. policy that had previously limited the amount of humanitarian funding available for people inside Burma.
In 2009, the UN Security Council followed our recommendations and demanded that all human rights violations committed by the Congolese army be “thoroughly investigated” and that “an appropriate mechanism” be established to assess the impact of UN peacekeeping support to the Congolese army.
Refugees International traveled to eastern Congo three times in 2009 where two million people have been displaced by ongoing violence. After we reached out to top U.S. and UN officials with our findings, more aid was delivered to displaced people in remote and neglected regions in eastern Congo and UN peacekeepers began more effectively protecting civilians from attacks.
The UN followed our recommendations to improve the staffing and coordination of aid delivery and established a presence for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the aftermath of the rising numbers of displaced Pakistanis in 2009. The UN also appointed a Special Envoy to coordinate aid programs by the Pakistani government and aid agencies. Both actions helped ensure that aid programs reach the most vulnerable people.
In 2009, Refugees
International staff met directly with the U.S. Special Representative for