This statement was originally released on April 27, 2009. Mr. Schwartz's confirmation hearing is scheduled for June 3, 2009.
Obama's nomination of Eric Schwartz to serve as Assistant Secretary of
State for Population, Refugees and Migration shows the Obama
administration's commitment to the world's 41.9 million refugees and
internally displaced people, and 12 million stateless people. Refugees
International fully supports his confirmation and encourages the Senate
to act quickly to confirm this position.
his career in both the public and the private sector, Mr. Schwartz has
shown dedication to tackling crises like that of Kurdish refugees in
Northern Iraq, the post-genocide exodus from Rwanda, and the
resettlement of Vietnamese boat people. He is clearly committed to the
belief that a world with less displacement is a peaceful and more
"If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Schwartz would take over the Refugee
Bureau at a time when it faces significant challenges. The world is
struggling to protect displaced people in the Darfur region of Sudan
and to ensure the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
in south Sudan. Nearly 5 million Iraqis are displaced throughout the
Middle East and need the support and infrastructure to return home.
Somalia is facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Afghanistan,
Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, and Colombia are
other extremely volatile regions with increasing displacement.
"The Bureau must take the lead in clarifying U.S. government policy on
the best way for the international community to respond to the needs of
internally displaced people. It must also continue to increase its
activities to reduce statelessness.
"The Assistant Secretary's role is essential for coordinating with
other agencies that are instrumental to assisting and resettling
displaced people, and for running a large office with a talented and
dedicated staff. Given the urgent needs and rapidly increasing numbers
of displaced people around the world, Refugees International urges all
Senators to quickly vote in favor of this appointment so that the Obama
Administration can begin meeting its responsibilities to the world's
most vulnerable populations."
Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that
advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people
and promotes solutions to displacement crises. For more information