Yesterday, we got a preview of a rare good-news story out of Congress: If the Senate has its way, America won’t abandon its commitments to the world’s most vulnerable and persecuted.
While President Obama recently received praise for reducing the rate of U.S. government spending, it’s Congress that must that must make the hard decisions about to how to prioritize funding trade-offs.
This post originally appeared on UN Dispatch.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) now estimates that there are about 60,000 Malian refugees spread out across multiple sites – formal and informal – in northern Burkina Faso.
This afternoon’s House mark-up of the State, Foreign Operations spending bill will show the world just how far and how fast some in the U.S. are willing to retreat from assuming America’s traditional leadership role in global affairs.
The House GOP leadership has allocated the State, Foreign Operations budget 9 percent less funding than was appropriated for the same accounts last year. This put legislators in a challenging position. Cuts were inevitable.
The Sahel region of West Africa is facing a major food crisis for the third time in seven years. The region has suffered from poverty and vulnerability for generations, but now drought, poor harvests, high food prices, environmental degradation, and decreased remittances from Libya and Cote d’Ivoire are putting millions at risk.
Human beings have a remarkable capacity to endure suffering. And perhaps nowhere in the world is this capacity more thoroughly tested than in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There is news today that more than 20,000 people have fled their homes in eastern Congo during the past few weeks. Last month, Congolese President Joseph Kabila announced he would try to arrest one of his generals, Bosco Ntaganda. Ntaganda is a former rebel commander who has been accused by the International Criminal Court of committing war crimes.
The recent conflict between Sudan and South Sudan has seen civilians in border areas subjected to brutal attacks by both sides. However, as I found while in South Sudan last week, the impact of this conflict goes far beyond the disputed areas of Heglig or Abyei, threatening many more lives.
Prior to the most recent round of fighting, millions of Sudanese on both sides of the border were already displaced and vulnerable - from the restive Sudanese states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, to South Sudanese villages emptied by tribal conflicts.
A coworker here at RI was recently talking about the emotional impact of being a refugee. There is of course the psychological trauma sparked by conflict or disaster, the fear and uncertainty about how to survive, and often depression or anxiety about the family, friends, or opportunities left behind. But this coworker also mentioned the emotional strength that’s required to face the future as a refugee.
Editor's Note: RI Senior Advocate Marc Hanson has been in Cartagena, Colombia, for the Summit of the Americas. This is his final diary entry from the trip, but do check out his first, second, and third entries as well.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the next steps America would take in its tit-for-tat rapprochement with Burma. Her announcement followed the (by most accounts) successful Burmese by-elections, in which Aung San Suu Kyi's once-banned political party won 43 of the 45 open seats.