Giving Refugees a Voice

Refugees International, USA

Hitaansh Gaur on December 12, 2018 in Food & Shelter

Refugee crises occur all around the world - from across the Atlantic to the Pacific - and they are all over the news. Refugees International doesn’t just cover these refugee’s crisis, but they go out into the field to help while giving refugees a voice.

Their humble beginnings start back in 1979, in the United States, when a group of people urged Jimmy Carter, the president at the time, to help Indochinese refugees. On top of that, they wanted to help Vietnamese and Cambodian escapees as well. They were able to press the administration to make changes and from that day on, they have not stopped their pursuit of advocating for the lives of those who have been displaced.

Every year, Refugees International conduct over 20 missions to places in crisis. For example, assisting with the Rohingya crisis and more recently sending advocates to the United States’ southern border to help with the incoming caravan. Refugees International advocates are first briefed when they get on-site on what actions are prohibited and on potential security concerns. However, if there is a security threat, they are always ready to react. Advocates on the ground interview victims of the crisis, displaced people, government officials in the area, and non-government organization workers. Through these interviews, the advocates are able to ascertain the challenges that plague the area. Upon completion of their on-the-ground interview process and investigation, they fly back to headquarters in D.C. where reports are written to challenge policies and influence policy makers.

Not only do they write reports on prevailing issues, but Refugees International provide testimonies to propose solutions, whether it be with a government or even in front of the United Nations. Along with presenting potential solutions to policy makers, Refugees International educates the public about current situations around the world and give a voice to those who may not be able to speak up for themselves.

This process can clearly be seen in Refugee International’s mission in Myanmar and Bangladesh to help with the Rohingya Crisis.

The mass exodus of the Rohingya people started in October of 2016 and has gotten worse since. About 1,000,000 Rohingya people have been forced out of Myanmar and have crossed the border into Bangladesh where there are refugee camps. One thing Refugees International observed while they were on-site was that the refugee shelters were constructed with bamboo, a material not sturdy enough to survive monsoon season. They recommended to the refugee camp officials that they improve the shelters with stronger materials. Recently, a deal has been made between the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to help bring the Rohingya people back to Myanmar; however, the Rohingya people are uneasy about this potential relocation. Refugees International will be back at the beginning of 2019 to make sure the transition occurs smoothly.

Refugees International not only advocates for refugees displaced because of violence, they also assist those who have been displaced because of extreme climate such as hurricanes or tornadoes. Despite the fact that these people do not fall into the definition of “refugees” in the eyes of organizations and governments, Refugees International is always looking out for them.

One of the truly special things about Refugees International is their independence from governments and policy-makers. They accept no funding from the UN and international governments, allowing them to be completely impartial and autonomous in their modus operandi. Instead, they receive funding from individual donors and other organizations.

To help Refugees International, one can repost their content, stay up-to-date with current crises around the world, and directly donate to the cause.

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