Our Successes

  • DR Congo: Non-Aggression Pact signed
    Nearly two million people remain internally displaced from the deadly conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. RI traveled to Equateur province where aid agencies were struggling to assist some 200,000 newly displaced people. Some of those agencies told RI that our field report on this extremely neglected region, and our media outreach as well as ongoing advocacy led to greater resources in the province. Two communities in this province even signed a non-aggression pact after RI recommended that the UN and other agencies support reconciliation efforts. The US refugee bureau also funded staff to work on human rights issues for the UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo to improve the protection of its civilians.
  • Pakistan: Increased accountability in Pakistan's military
    As fighting continued between Pakistan's Army and the Taliban, RI assessed the needs of more than one million people internally displaced by violence. We published a groundbreaking report and op-ed which warned that Pakistani military units were involved in gross human rights abuses. With this information, the Obama administration announced that it would cut off funding, training and equipment to Pakistani army units that have committed such human rights abuses. Going a step further, the US Congress funded programs to protect human rights and required the Secretary of State to report on the reduction of military abuses and the military’s role in stopping aid agencies from assisting some displaced populations.
  • Iraq: Assistance to squatter settlements increased
    Seven years after the Iraq war began, nearly 500,000 displaced Iraqis still live in squatter slums amidst garbage dumps, stagnant water and without electricity. RI returned to Iraq and traveled throughout the country to meet with displaced people and called for increased support to vulnerable Iraqis and Palestinian refugees forced to flee Iraq. Because of RI's continued involvement and building awareness on Capitol Hill of the sprawling squatter settlements, US funding was designated to help tens of thousands of Iraqis return to villages in Diyala province. This successful UN-wide and US-backed project helped people access starter homes, education, livestock and tools for farming. Furthermore, UNHCR increased its resources to improve living conditions for displaced Iraqis living in squatter slums.
  • 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.
  • Sudan: Limited the spread of diseases
    As South Sudan planned for a referendum on independence in January 2011, RI pushed the US government and international agencies to prepare to respond to violence and displacement. As a result, many aid workers credited RI’s work as the catalyst that spurred contingency planning on behalf of their agencies, which were then ready to provide food, medicine and other basic needs, to the hundreds of thousands of Sudanese that returned to the South, thereby limiting the spread of disease and other suffering. Also, because of RI’s advocacy, UNHCR shifted millions of more dollars to help returnees reintegrate into their communities. 
  • Colombia

    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.

  • Iraq

    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.

  • Iraq

    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.

  • Sudan

    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.

  • Sudan

    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.

  • Burma

    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.

  • DR Congo

    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.

  • DR Congo

    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.

  • Pakistan

    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.

  • Pakistan

    In 2009, Refugees International staff met directly with the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, who soon after our meeting, disbursed funds to distribute relief items for displaced Pakistanis who had fled their homes following military operations launched by the Pakistani government against Taliban insurgents.

  • Colombia
    In 2008, after Refugees International's ongoing calls for increased attention to the humanitarian crisis in Colombia, Congress increased emergency relief funding for the U.S. State Department's refugee bureau's programs in Colombia from $1.5 million to $5.6 million.
  • Sudan
    In 2008, after the U.S. Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) threatened to withdraw from south Sudan, Refugees International called on the agency to continue its work and argued that humanitarian funding levels were still needed to respond to ongoing emergency needs. As a result, OFDA reversed course and developed a three-year plan to provide assistance in the region.
  • Sudan
    In 2008, Refugees International called for increased funding to help the fledgling Government of Southern Sudan support  displaced people who had returned to southern Sudan to rebuild their lives. Soon after, the US Agency for International Development provided $34.5 million for the "BRIDGE" (Building Responsibility for the Delivery of Government Services) program, which includes funds to establish livelihoods for people returning home and to build the capacity of the state and county governments.
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
    In 2008, Refugees International called on the UN and international aid agencies to work locally with internally displaced people in eastern DR Congo to develop community-level projects. As a result, the UN Refugee Agency launched an appeal in June for partner organizations to implement new activities aimed at increasing economic independence for displaced people and promoting reconciliation for returnees.
  • Afghanistan
    Three months after Refugees International called for improved coordination of humanitarian assistance programs in Afghanistan in July 2008, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced it would establish a presence in the country. In addition to plans for a main office in Kabul, the agency plans to set up four regional offices throughout the country.