Making Refugees a Top Priority

Making Refugees a Top Priority

1/15/17

President Trump begins his presidency during the worst displacement and refugee crisis the world has ever seen.  Currently, at least 65 million people in the world are displaced and 21 million are refugees.  Every single one of these people represent a complicated crisis that The Trump Administration and 115th Congress will be forced to address.  We ask that they make the global refugee crisis a top priority, especially for displaced women and girls.

The current global context is grim – every minute, 24 people are forced to flee their homes, usually due to political conflicts that seem to have no resolution. With conflicts cropping up all over the world and more people facing desperate circumstances, CARE anticipates seeing even further displacement and greater numbers. When we include everyone who is currently a refugee or internally displaced, we’re talking about 96 million people in dire need of humanitarian assistance. 

Our newsfeeds are saturated with stories and images from Syria, Turkey and Jordan, but those aren’t the only refugee crises CARE is actively addressing. There are nine million displaced persons in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, 1.4 million in Haiti, 1.5 million in Mosul, Iraq and millions of others in developing countries all over the world.

That’s a lot of desperate people struggling to access even the basic necessities of life – food, water, shelter, healthcare and safety.  When entire populations are desperate and have few options for securing a better life, it leads radicalism, terrorism and a lost generation of youth who are launched into adulthood with no education, occupation or hope. That incendiary combination threatens global and U.S. national security and increases stress on the U.S. immigration system.

We urge President Trump to prioritize U.S. leadership as the top humanitarian donor that saves lives globally.  We urge him to address the complex, multifaceted crises that lead to refugee situations with multifaceted solutions. At the heart of these solutions is the need to end civil conflicts and insurgencies that send people fleeing. We ask President Trump to provide critical U.S. leadership in developing long-term solutions to these conflicts.

CARE commends the United States for its strong response to the refugee crisis to date.  But, we call on our government to provide more funding for refugee assistance and increase resettlement of the most vulnerable individuals. We encourage specific policy attention to address the unique needs of women and children, who are consistently the most vulnerable in any crisis and make up the majority of refugee populations.

 

CARE urges the Administration to:

  • Seek increased funding for humanitarian and refugee assistance, that includes addressing the challenges of women and girls in crisis, access to sexual and reproductive health services and gender-based violence services. Our preliminary estimate is that this lifesaving assistance requires no less than:

    • $3.2 billion for the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account

    • $3.6 billion for the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account

    • $1.6 billion for the Food for Peace account

    • $100million for the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) account

  • Strengthen its commitment to assist, protect and empower displaced women and girls and address the particular vulnerabilities and challenges women and girls face in humanitarian emergencies and refugee crises.

  • Ensure that displaced women and girls are included in important policy conversations, from the field to global capitals. Their voices must be heard and concrete actions must be taken to ensure that their recommendations and concerns influence how and what the U.S. and other donors do and fund.

  • Support refugees by strengthening flexible funding for host country communities and refugees.  

  • Ensure that refugees are afforded the right and opportunity to work.

  • Ensure that commitments made by host and donor countries to afford the rights and opportunities to legally work are fulfilled.

  • Continue current and effective screening standards and increase refugee resettlement to the U.S. with a focus on women, children, the elderly and disabled to achieve the international goal of resettling 10 percent of the world’s refugees.

  • Address the root causes of these crises with greater diplomatic pressure on all relevant actors.

 

Humanitarian assistance is essential, but if we’re going to end displacement and optimize global security, economic opportunity and our own global leadership position, humanitarian assistance isn’t enough. The U.S. must do more to protect vulnerable civilians, take stronger actions to end conflicts and condemn violations of international humanitarian law. Ultimately, the U.S. must push for greater diplomatic pressure by all relevant actors to end these conflicts once and for all.

As we usher in this new Administration, CARE urges President Trump and all our government leaders to remain the beacon of hope we’ve been for refugees for decades.  Now, more than ever, we all must demonstrate American values by treating refugees with the dignity, respect and humanitarian assistance they deserve. CARE is committed to helping our leaders, citizen advocates, partners and colleagues achieve these goals for all global citizens and most of all, for the 96 million people who need our help. 

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