Friday, January 08, 2010

Refugee International has Success in 2009 and sets greater goals for 2010

Refugees International sent me the following 2009 Review of their successes. I have helped financially (and in writing or through voluntary service) refugees in the past on several continents.

I have been hit financially this year by the fact that my wife (a non-refugee) was unable to join me here in Germany this past 2009. In short, because I had to fly to my wife in the Philippines and Kuwait from Germany 4 times as well as by or rent multiple properties for us both to live on seperate continents through 2009, I have not personally been as helpful as I might normally have been, i.e. I have wanted to donate more to causes helping people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Philippines, but the emigration authorities have kept me throwing money at airlines, hotels, and property owners on two continents.

I know others have suffered financially in 2009, but in 2010 I want to do better. Consider supporting Refugees International now and in the future. The world depends on such NGOs.

Here is the letter from Sincerely,Joel Charny, Acting president at RI:

Dear Friend,

On behalf of everyone here at Refugees International, I'd like to thank you for being an important part of our efforts over the past year. I'm also happy to announce that we exceeded our matching gift goal; in total we raised over $116,000 through our online campaign! This support makes it possible for us to continue to ensure that our leaders meet the needs of refugees worldwide, and we thank you for it.

As we begin our work in 2010 to ease the burdens of millions of people worldwide who are forced to flee their homes, we wanted to share the positive impacts that your support made possible in 2009.

Below are a few highlights we've compiled and posted on our blog this week:

In May 2009, 1.4 million people fled their homes in less than 3 weeks after the Pakistani government launched military operations against Taliban insurgents. The UN followed our recommendations to improve the staffing and coordination of aid delivery, and appointed a Special Envoy to coordinate aid programs by the Pakistani government and aid agencies. Both actions helped ensure that aid programs reach the most vulnerable people.

DR Congo
Refugees International traveled to eastern Congo three times in 2009 where two million people have been displaced by ongoing violence. After we reached out to top U.S. and UN officials with our findings, more aid was delivered to displaced people in remote and neglected regions in eastern Congo and UN peacekeepers began more effectively protecting civilians from attacks.

Because of Refugees International's leadership and demands for greater aid for the Burmese people, Congress provided some $36 million for democracy and humanitarian programs largely inside Burma, a major shift in U.S. policy that had previously limited the amount of humanitarian funding available for people inside Burma.

For the last few years, Refugees International has been one of the few organizations calling on policy makers to address the rising tensions in south Sudan and to support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended 22 years of war. The Obama Administration finally responded, outlining the implementation of the peace agreement as one of three strategic objectives. In addition, Congress appropriated $296 million to Sudan and directed the State Department to prioritize funding for projects in south Sudan in support of the CPA.

Refugees International has led the call to increase assistance to the millions of vulnerable Iraqis still displaced inside and outside of Iraq. In line with our recommendations, the U.S. provided substantial funding to the UN Refugee Agency's Iraq programs and supported programs that prevent and respond to violence against displaced women. The U.S. also continued its resettlement program, admitting over 18,800 Iraqis last year.

Millions of people have been displaced by the conflict in Colombia. Refugees International continued to call for more support to those displaced inside the country as well as those who have fled to Ecuador and Venezuela. As a result of our advocacy, the U.S. Congress increased funding for Colombian refugees in nearby countries, including support for Ecuador's Enhanced Registration Process, a key component of that country's refugee policy reform.

These accomplishments would not have been possible without your support, and we thank you for your ongoing commitment to improving the lives of refugees. We promise that we will continue to do everything in our power to compel the world's leaders to assist and protect the 41.2 million people who remain uprooted from their homes.

Joel Charny
Acting president

P.S. To read more about our work in the coming year, take a look at my list of "Ten Humanitarian Headlines for 2010".



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