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December 09, 2013 Alice Thomas Climate Displacement, Americas

Two weeks ago, the High Court of New Zealand rejected a Kiribati man’s request for asylum as a “climate change refugee.” Ione Teitiota argued that he should be entitled to protection as a refugee because rising sea levels and environmental hazards caused by climate change were endangering his life on Kiribati, a low-lying island nation in the South Pacific. 

December 06, 2013 Marcy Hersh DR Congo, Mali, South Sudan, Protection & Security, Women & Children

I’m exhausted. And not because of the rapidly approaching holidays. No, I’m exhausted because my schedule is packed with a seemingly endless stream of high-level meetings, panel discussions, roundtables, photo exhibitions, protests, marches, and congressional hearings – all of them focused on raising awareness of gender-based violence in emergencies.

December 05, 2013 Jeff Crisp Congress, Iraq, Syria, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Middle East

This blog first appeared in The Hill Congress Blog.

I first visited Domiz refugee camp in May 2013. Situated near the city of Dohuk in northern Iraq, and spread out over 1.5 million square meters of land which once housed an army base, the camp accommodates around 45,000 Syrian Kurds who have escaped from the conflict in their homeland, the border of which is just 70 kilometers away.

November 26, 2013 Elizabeth Galvi... Jordan, Syria, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security

A few days ago, we spent the day at Jordan’s Zaatari camp, as part of a team from Refugees International. We spoke to Syrians who had crossed the border on foot, people whose homes and bodies had been damaged by rockets, people who wanted to be relocated to Europe, and people who want to return to Syria but fear they never can.

November 22, 2013 Sarnata Reynolds Africa, Ethiopia - Eritrea, Israel, South Sudan, Sudan, Middle East, Statelessness

This week, Israel submitted a legal brief to the High Court of Justice stating that it would stop issuing birth certificates to the children of foreigners born in the country. This new policy is purportedly intended to prevent migrants from making a claim to citizenship based on birth in Israel (an impossibility as Israeli law does not provide for this benefit unless at least one parent is a citizen of Israel). However, it may have the unintentional consequence of creating new stateless populations.

November 19, 2013 Guest Africa, Kenya, Somalia, Protection & Security

Fear was never so close to me in Nairobi than on September 21 of this year, when Al Shabab gunmen stormed the Westgate Mall. I was with some friends at the time in a small makeshift tea shop on a street in Eastleigh, where many Somalis live. Everyone in that area was going about their business.

When I first heard about the attack, I followed the news on radio and TV. My assumption was that what was happening in Westgate was a robbery, but everything instantly changed when it was announced that Somali Islamist group Al-Shabab was responsible. I froze in fear.

November 14, 2013 Daryl Grisgraber Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Middle East

Two and a half years after the humanitarian crisis began, more Syrians than ever are displaced, either inside the country or in neighboring states. In the past six months, in particular, we’ve witnessed more and more desperate attempts by civilians to find safety beyond Syria’s borders.

November 08, 2013 Marcy Hersh Africa, DR Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Asia, Middle East, Women & Children

There is always a convenient excuse. In Haiti, we don't have the time. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we don't have the funding. In the Syrian refugee response, we don't have the experts. Somehow, there is always a pat answer to why we, the humanitarian community, fail to protect women and girls in emergency after emergency.

November 05, 2013 Caelin Briggs Africa, DR Congo, Rwanda, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security

After 20 months of shelling, occupation, and displacement, the M23 rebel group announced today that it is ending its insurgency in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The announcement comes after months of negotiations in Kampala between M23 and the Congolese government, where little progress was made towards agreeing on terms to end the conflict. Last week, after the talks broke down completely, the government recaptured the M23 stronghold town of Bunagana, and in the following days it steadily pushed M23 from each of its remaining centers of power.

October 31, 2013 Jeff Crisp Afghanistan, Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia - Eritrea, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security, Women & Children

Just a few years ago, the countries of the European Union (EU) thought they were finally getting control over the flow of refugees and asylum seekers across their borders. Having peaked at 670,000 in 1992, the number of asylum applications submitted in the EU fell rapidly in successive years, slumping to just 200,000 in 2006.

October 30, 2013 Melanie Teff Myanmar, Humanitarian Response, Asia, Protection & Security

This piece first appeared in The Networker.

A recent humanitarian crisis that has created multiple dilemmas for humanitarian actors has been the unfolding situation affecting the Rohingya population in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

October 29, 2013 Marcy Hersh Africa, Mali, Humanitarian Response, Women & Children

Amina hasn't had a full night of sleep in more than a year. Ever since she fled her home in northern Mali last fall, she has been haunted by terrifying memories of violence. When my colleagues from Refugees International and I visited her in the Malian capital, Bamako, she volunteered to share her story with me.

October 24, 2013 Daryl Grisgraber Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security, Women & Children

Last week, Amnesty International issued a report on Syrian refugees in Egypt, which revealed that some Syrians are now trying to leave Egypt by dangerous means like sea crossings to Europe. In recent weeks the media has been full of stories of people – including many Syrians – drowning at sea between Alexandria and European ports. Hundreds of others are being held in detention after failing in their attempts or being arbitrarily arrested.

October 22, 2013 Michelle Brown Africa, Mali, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security, Women & Children

On October 11, a boat carrying roughly 400 displaced Malians returning to their homes in the north capsized on the Niger River. According to press reports, 72 people have been confirmed dead, many of them school children. This tragedy is a stark reminder of how difficult it will be to bring displaced Malians home again.

October 21, 2013 Alice Thomas Africa, Climate Displacement, Americas, Humanitarian Response, Asia, Middle East

Tomorrow at 6pm Eastern time, I’ll be participating in “24 Hours of Reality,” the third annual live-streamed show organized by the Climate Reality Project, founded by former Vice President Al Gore.

October 17, 2013 Marcy Hersh Africa, Mali, Humanitarian Response, Women & Children

This post originally appeared on The Hill's Congress Blog.

Biba snaps her fingers to get my attention, struggling to be heard over the din of the crowd – all of them competing to share their story of how they came to Bamako. My colleagues from Refugees International and I turn to face her directly and the others quiet down.

October 16, 2013 Eileen Shields-West Africa, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security, Women & Children

As conflicts go, it was relatively short. An ethnic Tuareg rebellion that began in northern Mali in January 2012 spread like wildfire when armed Islamist groups linked to Al Qaeda usurped control. A military coup in March of last year further weakened the government’s ability to respond. Fabled Timbuktu and commercial Gao (two major cities in the North) were overrun by rebels, and their citizens suffered such acts of terror and atrocities that many still cannot speak about them. Others cannot sleep without being awakened by horrific dreams of those days.

October 11, 2013 Michelle Brown Africa, Mali, Humanitarian Response, Protection & Security, Women & Children

This post originally appeared at UN Dispatch.

More than a year ago, families fled northern Mali in droves after insurgents there routed Malian forces. While some of those families became refugees in nearby countries, most simply fled to the country’s south.