As the international community observes the World Refugee Day, the United States of America today reiterated its commitment to address the protracted refugee situations around the world.
In his statement in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States is the single largest donor to refugee relief efforts around the world, working to care for refugees displaced by other conflicts, including in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and Sudan.
“We have helped address protracted refugee situations around the world, including those affecting Afghans, Burmese, Colombians, and Somalis.” – Secretary Kerry
US welcomes refugees fleeing from violence
Secretary Kerry reiterates that the United States has a proud tradition of welcoming those fleeing violence and persecution.
In the fiscal years 2012, more than 58,000 refugees from 66 countries were resettled to the United States and the nearly 70,000 refugees who are expected to arrive in the United States in the coming fiscal year to rebuild their lives.
“Their presence makes our country more diverse, our culture richer, and our national character stronger.” – Secretary Kerry
US joins international community to tackle refugee crisis around the world
According to Secretary Kerry, the United States joins the international community in honoring the resilience, courage, and determination of refugees all over the world, and the work of many countries in providing refuge, both temporary and permanent.
He points out that the crisis in Syria has led to more than 4.25 million Syrians being displaced internally, more than 1.5 million becoming refugees, and millions more caught up in the unspeakable violence.
US commends the efforts of Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey for opening their borders to those fleeing the bloodshed.
In addition, the US government also appreciates the generosity in hosting uprooted people and families, whether in refugee camps or local communities.
The US is proud for working at the forefront of international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance as well.
US Responds to Refugee Crisis Around the World
Saying that 2012 has been a tough year for humanitarians trying to help displaced people around the world, the United States of America today revealed 2012 report on how US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration responded to the refugee crisis globally.
In a report written by Assistant Secretary Anne C. Richard, she says in addition to aiding people caught up in protracted refugee situations (such as Colombians, Afghans, Palestinians, Somalis and Burmese), a number of crises erupted that prompted millions more people to flee.
Here is how US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration PRM has responded:
In Syria, 40,000 people have been killed, over 2 million are displaced inside Syria and over half a million people have fled to neighboring countries.
According to Ms. Richard, the U.S. Government is providing $210 million in humanitarian aid to the region and its aid is reaching millions.
In Africa, in 2012, new refugees flee violence and drought in Northern Mali and fighting in Sudan, and even more displacement in the conflict-ravaged eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The PRM is engaged in emergency response and routinely carry out monitoring and evaluation visits to ensure U.S.-funded aid is well spent and reaching the people who need it.
In Afghanistan, PRM helped repatriate and reintegrate over 83,000 Afghans who returned home this year. We formalized the handover of NGO-run health clinics to the Ministry of Health.
The US supports UNHCR’s Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees, which works with Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to protect refugees until they can return home safely and voluntarily and to find permanent homes for them when they do return.
With regards to refugee resettlement, the three millionth refugee admitted to the United States since 1975 arrived in February.
In addition, the number of refugees admitted in fiscal year 2012 surpassed the previous year.
The US is on track to admit 70,000 refugees in fiscal year 2013.
In the Balkans, with the active support of US embassies in the region, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary David Robinson led efforts to find permanent homes for 74,000 people displaced during the 1991-1995 armed conflicts in the Balkans.
In addition, the PRM has led the U.S. delegation to the 45th session of the UN Commission on Population and Development in April and secured a resolution addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents and youth and their human rights.
Furthermore, PRM spearheaded a successful effort in the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution on “The Right to a Nationality” for women.
The UNHCR has been able to return hundreds of thousands of refugees to Angola and Liberia in recent years.
In December 2011, the United States announced an initial contribution of $125 million toward the 2012 operations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
This year’s initial contribution funded through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, will support UNHCR efforts worldwide. This funding includes support for refugee returns to countries such as Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; local integration and resettlement; and protection and life-saving assistance.
U.S. funding supports the provision of water, shelter, food, healthcare, and education to refugees, internally displaced persons, and other persons under UNHCR’s care and protection in countries such as Iraq, Yemen, Nepal, Pakistan, Georgia, South Sudan, Chad, and Kenya. The contribution will support UNHCR’s Annual and Supplementary Program activities listed below:
In 2011, the United States ultimately contributed more than $690 million to UNHCR through multiple tranches, a figure which included funding for on-going operations as well as special appeals for emergencies. We continue to salute the vital work of UNHCR, its many NGO partners, and refugee-hosting countries in providing protection to displaced populations around the world.