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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2008, the U.S. provided $50 million in assistance after Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy Delta -- killing 140,000 and affecting 2.4 million others. This was a tremendous increase over the U.S. government’s previous $3 million budget for aid to Burmese people inside the country. Refugees International slowly began to change the U.S. government’s stance against funding humanitarian aid programs inside Burma after two years of being one of the few organizations calling for increased assistance.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In 2008, after RI called for more funding for education for internally displaced persons in the DR Congo, funding from donor governments for education programs was significantly increased to $1,004,000.