The United States and the International Ban on Landmines

As the U.S. landmine policy review by the Obama Administration enters its second year, come hear from our panel of experts – all with first-hand experience with these weapons – and learn about their mission to convince the United States to relinquish antipersonnel landmines and accede to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

Georgetown Landmine Event Flyer

Panelists include:

Professor Ken Rutherford (S’91, G’00), Director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery, James Madison University

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997)

Stephen D. Goose, Executive Director of the Arms Division, Human Rights Watch

RSVP here.

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Summer Institute on Forced Migration Studies

The Center for Forced Migration Studies (CFMS) at Northwestern University, Chicago, USA is launching its first annual Summer Institute on Forced Migration Studies: “Unsettling Resettlement” from July 10th-17th, 2011.
The Northwestern Center for Forced Migration Studies Summer Institute is a one-week, non-degree earning certificate program. The Summer Institute offers participants an interdisciplinary and comparative understanding of the causes and consequences of forced migration and refugee situations. Focused each year on a key topic of concern in the field of forced migration, the Summer Institute is structured to provide participants expert knowledge and a team based forum where participants actively engage to develop new approaches, policy recommendations and implementation strategies. In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the UNHCR and the 1951 Refugee Convention, the topic for 2011 is “Unsettling Resettlement” and seeks to engage participants in examining the current refugee regime concerning resettlement and become part of designing durable solutions.

The summer institute is open to both academics and practitioners seeking to expand their knowledge of contemporary critical elements of forced migration/refugee issues. Participants range from government officials and NGO personnel to university faculty and graduate students.

To register, please visit our website at: Application deadlines are April 15th, 2011 for visa applicants and June 1st, 2011 for non-visa applicants.

For more information about CFMS please visit:



Washington, D.C., February 4, 2011—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urges the United States to suspend deportations to Haiti of persons of Haitian origin who are seriously ill or who have family members in the United States.

Following the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, the U.S. government suspended the deportation of Haitians with criminal convictions or charges. According to information the Commission has received, the government announced on December 9, 2010, that it would lift the moratorium on deportations, and the media reported that deportations of Haitians with criminal records resumed on January 20, 2011.

The deportation of seriously ill persons to Haiti could jeopardize their lives, considering the humanitarian crisis that persists in the country, especially the detention conditions in jails and prisons. According to the information received by the Commission, detention centers in Haiti are overcrowded, and the lack of drinking water and adequate sanitation or toilets could facilitate the transmission of cholera, tuberculosis, and other diseases. The IACHR is also concerned that once they arrive in Haiti, seriously ill persons could remain in detention without access to food, drinking water, and adequate medical treatment. Along these lines, U.S. immigrant advocacy organizations informed the Commission that a person of Haitian origin deported on January 20, 2011, has died in a Haitian prison for reasons that have not yet been officially established, after showing symptoms of cholera. In addition, the Inter-American Commission has received troubling information regarding persons being processed for deportation who have immediate family members, even children, in the United States and who in some cases do not have any family members in Haiti.

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WASHINGTON — In a joint letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano February 7, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, chairman of the Board of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ international humanitarian agency, expressed opposition to the recent resumption of deportations to the nation of Haiti.

“We are disturbed and dismayed over the January 20, 2010, deportation of 27 Haitians, one of whom is reported to have died from cholera. We ask that you cease these deportations indefinitely,” they wrote.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of DHS announced the resumption of deportations to Haiti December 9th. Since then, about 300 Haitians have been transferred to Louisiana in advance of deportation to the stricken island nation. DHS also announced that it intends to deport 700 Haitians by the end of the year.

Citing the slow recovery from the January 12, 2010 earthquake, the outbreak of cholera, and recent civil unrest, the bishops stated that Haiti is not prepared to receive deportees.

“Now is not the time to resume deportations to Haiti, nor would it be morally or politically appropriate to do so in the foreseeable future,” they wrote. “To continue deportations in the face of such conditions would represent a knowing disregard for the life and dignity of Haitians scheduled for deportation.”

The bishops also argued that resuming deportations could communicate the wrong message to the Haitian people, who are depending upon the United States for long-term support in their effort to recover from the earthquake.

“Moreover, [the resumption of deportations] would signal to a nation struggling to recover from natural disaster that the United States is retreating from its commitment to help Haiti return to health, ” they stated.

The bishops outlined several steps DHS should take to assist Haiti, including a re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haiti so that Haitians who arrived after the earthquake could qualify; the extension of humanitarian parole to family members of Haitians brought to the United States for medical care; and the implementation of a family parole program for 55,000 Haitians with approved family petitions into the United States as they wait for their priority dates to become current.

The bishops argued that the adoption of these measures would ensure the continued flow of remittances to the country and would “send an important signal to the Haitian people that the United States remains committed to their long-term welfare.”

The letter concluded with a special appeal to the DHS Secretary.

“Madam Secretary, your designation of TPS for Haiti immediately after the January 12, 2010, earthquake was an important and well-received humanitarian action. We urge you not to negate that positive action with a resumption of deportations at this time.”

Full text of the letter follows.
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