Senators urge President Obama to allow more Syrian refugees to resettle in the U.S.

(Washington, D.C.) May 21, 2015 — U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today led a group of fourteen senators in calling on President Barack Obama to significantly increase the number of Syrian refugees allowed to resettle in the United States. The Syrian conflict has led to the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crisis and the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

“Our nation’s founders came to our shores to escape religious persecution and the United States has a long tradition of providing safe haven to refugees,” the senators wrote. “The United States traditionally accepts at least 50 percent of resettlement cases from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). However, we have accepted only approximately 700 refugees since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, an unacceptably low number. While the United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, we must also dramatically increase the number of Syrian refugees that we accept for resettlement.”

Full text of the senators’ letter follows:  Read the rest of this entry »

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A record 33.3 million now displaced by war worldwide

(GENEVA) May 14, 2014 — Thirty-three million people were internally displaced at the end of 2013 due to conflict and violence says a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). This equates to a staggering increase of 4.5 million from 2012, signaling a record high for the second year running.

SetWidth240-idmc-global-overview-2014-cover-72dpiToday IDMC, part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), launched its Global Overview 2014 at the United Nations in Geneva, alongside the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The report, which covers internal displacement in 2013 highlights that a full 63% of the record breaking 33.3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) reported worldwide, come from just five countries: Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan. Including figures for Nigeria for the first time, the report documents that an astounding, 3.3 million Nigerians have been displaced by conflict.

“This record number of people forced to flee inside their own countries confirms a disturbing upward trend of internal displacement since IDMC first began monitoring and analyzing displacement back in the late 90s,” says Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of NRC.

“The dramatic increase in forced displacement in 2013 and the fact that the average amount of time people worldwide are living in displacement is now a staggering 17 years, all suggest that something is going terribly wrong in how we are responding and dealing with this issue,” says Egeland.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres added: “We should all be concerned about these numbers and the continuing upwards trend. We have a shared responsibility to act to end this massive suffering. Immediate protection and assistance for the internally displaced is a humanitarian imperative.” Read the rest of this entry »

Joint statement by heads of UN humanitarian agencies on Syria

(New York, Geneva, Rome) April 23, 2014 — One year ago, as leaders of UN agencies struggling to deal with the growing human impact of the Syrian crisis, we issued an urgent appeal on behalf of millions of people whose lives and futures hang in the balance: Enough, we said, enough!

That appeal has gone largely unanswered. The war escalates in many areas. The humanitarian situation deteriorates day after day.  And for the civilians remaining in the cities of Aleppo and the Old City of Homs, as well as other parts of the country experiencing heavy fighting, the worst days seem yet to come.
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U.S. NGOs calls on G20 leaders to redouble diplomatic and humanitarian efforts on Syria

(St. Petersburg, Russia) Sept. 4, 2013 – As world leaders gather in here for the G20 summit, NGO alliance InterAction urges them to redouble diplomatic efforts on Syria and focus on responding to the dire humanitarian needs in the region, where the number of refugees eclipsed two million this week.

“The heavy toll of this two-year conflict on the Syrian people mounts every day,” said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction. “While humanitarian organizations continue to provide life-saving assistance, more must be done to bring about a solution to end the conflict and to alleviate suffering. Amid the escalating conflict, it is the world’s responsibility to ensure civilians are protected as much as possible.”

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Record-breaking Progress as States Race to Eliminate the Scourge of Cluster Bombs

Syria’s use of the banned weapon strongly condemned

(Geneva) September 4, 2013: Governments are making record-breaking progress as they race to fulfill the 2008 treaty banning cluster munitions, while Syria’s use of this banned weapon has been widely condemned, according to Cluster Munition Monitor 2013, a global report released today in Geneva.

“The impressive rate at which states are destroying millions of stockpiled cluster munitions shows that the Convention on Cluster Munitions is already making a real difference in saving lives,” said Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch, ban policy editor of Cluster Munition Monitor 2013. “By completing their stockpile destruction years in advance of deadline, states are boldly demonstrating their commitment to the treaty’s objective of ridding the world of these weapons.”

During 2012, the Netherlands finished the total destruction of its once-massive stockpile of cluster munitions and together with Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and others, destroyed a total of 173,973 cluster munitions and 27 million submunitions—the most in a year since the convention’s adoption and far exceeding 2011 totals, when states destroyed a total of 107,000 cluster munitions and 17.6 million submunitions.

Under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, States Parties have a maximum period of eight years to destroy their stockpiled cluster munitions, but most are completing their destruction in half that time. Denmark and the United Kingdom, for example, announced plans to finish destruction by the end of this year, and Cote d’Ivoire finished destruction in early 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Video: Jesuit Refugee Service Syria

 

Learn more about Jesuit Refugee Service on our website:

http://www.jrsusa.org/

UNHCR chief warns Security Council of “terrifying” situation for Syria

(GENEVA) April 18, 2013 – UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, warned the United Nations Security Council today that without an end to the fighting soon, almost half of Syria’s 20.8 million people could be in need of humanitarian help by the end of this year.

In an address to the Council by video-link from Geneva, Guterres said 400,000 refugees had fled Syria in the last seven weeks, bringing the population of Syrians registered as refugees or waiting to be registered to 1,367,413. If current trends continue, he said, then by the end of the year there may be up to 3.5 million Syrians refugees, together with 6.5 million people inside Syria who may be in need of help.

“These figures are terrifying,” he said. “This is not just frightening, it risks becoming simply unsustainable. There is no way to adequately respond to the enormous humanitarian needs these figures represent. And it is difficult to imagine how a nation can endure so much suffering.

“I know that, as High Commissioner for Refugees, I should confine my remarks to the scope of my mandate,” he added. “But as a citizen of the world, I cannot refrain from asking: Isn’t there any way to stop this fighting, to open the door for a political solution?”

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