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Mark Yarnell, RI's advocate for the Horn of Africa, appeared on Capitol Hill following his recent mission to Kenya and Ethiopia. He told members of Congress that political leverage (not just aid money) is needed to ensure Somali refugees get the help they need.
As Mark told members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives, "where we do have control, and where we do have access, it is our responsibility to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are being met."
On March 20th, longstanding members of the Washington Circle were joined by new friends and supporters at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Nearly 70 guests took time from their busy schedules to join us for a spring luncheon and briefings by RI Board Member and author Roya Hakakian and RI Statelessness Program Manager Sarnata Reynolds.
Last week, my colleague Erin Weir and I travelled to Kalehe territory in South Kivu. In the village of Kambali, we spoke to host families and displaced people who fled fighting in January between two armed groups: the Raia Mutomboki and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
This post originally appeared on The Hill's Congress Blog.
Driving from Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo, I prepare myself for certain things. I know I will be confronted with extreme poverty. I know I will meet people who are facing hardships that would be unendurable to many. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the incredible beauty of the country.
Stability in Libya depends on the ability of the National Transitional Council (NTC) and its international partners to effectively demobilize thousands of young men and women who participated in the armed revolution.
Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) processes are one of the earliest and most important steps in any successful transition towards peace. But such processes have to be inclusive, bringing together not only men but also female fighters and women who helped combatants in the field.
Senior Advocate Peter Orr and I are in North Kivu Province, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This is my fifth visit to the area since I began working for Refugees International in 2007, and in that time there have been a lot of changes.
There have been shifting conflict dynamics and alliances amongst armed groups and the government, new aid efforts to respond better to humanitarian needs, and innovations in the way UN peacekeepers interact with communities to keep people safe.
A "complex security and humanitarian crisis.” That’s how Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) described the situation for Latin America's refugees and displaced people at Tuesday’s panel discussion, Refugees, Displacement, and Hemispheric Stability in Latin America, on Capitol Hill.
Today Refugees International mourns the loss of Congressman Donald Payne, a true humanitarian. Famous for his courageous work on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people, his dedicated service as chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights was remarkable for its breadth and the undaunted manner in which he pursued it.
The first Syrian family we met in northern Lebanon included 18 people spanning three generations. The matriarch was probably no more than 60 years old, and the youngest member was a baby of 42 days.
We sat with the family for more than an hour, asking them about their experiences in Syria and as refugees, and we asked what they needed. The new mother almost immediately said that she needed baby formula. The other women nodded in agreement, adding that they also needed fresh fruit and vegetables, and meat.