Join a Discussion on Helping the World's Refugees

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
June 7, 2011
Live: Conversations With America: Helping the World's Refugees

On Tuesday, June 14, 2011, Eric Schwartz, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, will hold a conversation with George Rupp, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, on “Helping the World's Refugees.” The discussion will be moderated by Cheryl Benton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, and streamed live on DipNote, the Department of State's official blog, at 10:15 a.m. (EDT). You are invited to participate by submitting questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions now on DipNote.

Through Conversations With America, leaders of national nongovernmental organizations have the opportunity to discuss foreign policy and global issues with senior State Department officials. These conversations aim to provide candid views of the ways in which leaders from the foreign affairs community are engaging the Department on pressing foreign policy issues. From Afghanistan to India, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and internet freedom to world water issues, the Conversations With America series showcases how both the U.S. government and civil society are working across the globe on issues that concern Americans most.

Comments

Comments

Ryan H.
|
Massachusetts, USA
June 7, 2011

Ryan H. in Massachusetts writes:

Recognizing the huge shift in media attention to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people abroad, what do you think are the greatest challenges to identifying and recognizing LGBTI refugees? Does the discourse on queer identities provide any insight into credibility assessment in asylum claims? And if it does, how can we fight the use of plethysmography in states such as the Czech Republic while commending them for fulfilling their Convention obligations?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 7, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I'd like to resubmit this note and question for consideration since there's no point in having a conversation with America unless folks are going to be discussing solutions, as well as policy to reach creative ways of ending human misery.

But first I'd like folks to address the diplomatic challenge in the question put here front and center and hopefully logic will prevail on the dysfunctional among nations thereby, Thanks.

---

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Assistant Secretary Schwartz,

So just how hard is it for the other 45 some-odd nations and counting to sign on to the convention anyway?

I suppose there's various degrees of catching up with the flow of those in the know about dealing with migrations of peoples, from, and to and the "How the hell did I end up here?" at the whim of conflict.

USAID needs to turn this in to a franchise like Starbucks, ;?) where every nation has its counterpart agency with common rules of engagement to counter those nations among the 45 who are helping to create crisis; that people are going to run from; to seek shelter from tyrany. Or by natural disaster, or man-made exclusion zones; being the culprit.

And if it be small comfort to my fellow Americans; there's at least a place ( some might find it has a few prickly things) that doesn't have tornados or hurricanes, or 25' of snowmaggeddon in winter.

Now the cool thing about my state that State should find interesting, is that in theory the tribes of my state are sovereign, hold land in sacred trust, and form treaty with the US gov.; and while the US gov. has various limits set on immigration for whatever status, including refugees, I don't know that anyone has approached the tribes to see if there's land they might do long-term lease on to help the US gov deal with a flood of internationaly displaced.

It's one way to get to America , so long as all federal laws are met on entry, I don't see why a tribe couldn't sponsor refugees on their land within their own limits, as long as the fed. gov. was feeding, housing and putting them to work planting trees in national forests and tribal lands.) ; as one possible option.

Oh, and guess who gets to pay for it?

Take in as many migrant workers as Ghaddafi has forced out and there's billions in frozen assets that in any settlement resloved in the Hague eventually, those deprived of life and livelyhood, and made homeless should be justly compensated.

If they're going to be living in tents, they might as well be pitched in a place the occupants can walk to work.

Tie this in with State's agricultural initiatives and climate change , folks have enough labor to plant trillions of trees world wide and create a carbon sink in 30 years that will help balance the global atmosphere for hundreds ( if we don't do other stupid stuff to exterminate ourselves in the meantime).

FDR had something right when he got CCC camps going, it wasn't so much that folks needed jobs, it was getting them organized to do big works.

There's no way for me to know if my government should ask itself whether it should do something completely retro, and adapt that public works program for the troubled huddled masses of today, but feel free to run with it,

"Plant trees and terrorists" I always say, one becomes the "green" future, the other becomes fertilizer, or in bin laden's case; fish food works for me too....(chuckle).

And there's millions standing around in camps with nothing to do?

Best regards,

EJ

Posted on Thu Jun 02, 2011

"http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/60th_anniversary_1951_conven..."

rick g.
|
New York, USA
June 7, 2011

Rick G. in New York writes:

There were over 800,000 Jews that were thrown out of their homes in Arab and Muslim countries post WWII. What is the US and UN doing to get those refugess the right of return to their homes and properties, including the millions of their decendants?

Ashim C.
|
India
June 8, 2011

Ashim C. in India writes:

My concern is related rehabilitation habitats of refugees when they take place. The standards of those habitats in terms of per person allotment of space, facilities in individual shelters in terms of insulation, cheap building materials used in developing and poor countries. Refugee habitats are thought of as temporary shelters with tents, tins and canvasswhere as there are technologies available which combine the benefits of temporary temporary shelters with features of permanent construction and cost effectiveness.

Does department of population, refugees and migration have a new technology adoption policies and can it take them up with USAID and UNHCR?

Crystal
|
Georgia
June 8, 2011

Crystal H. in Georgia (U.S.A.) writes:

I live near Clarkston, Georgia, a primary refugee relocation area in the States. A significant problem in Clarkston is the fact that there is no school for refugee children who enter the US. They usually do not speak English and score poorly on standardized tests. This, in turn, affects funding and teacher placement in the schools. It's a downward spiral. I believe that there should be a school that is specifically catered toward refugee students with the goal of getting them up to grade level. This would greatly improve their current lives and hope for their future, as well as their family's. It would significantly change the entire town. These families obviously cannot afford private education; is there a way to begin work on a government sponsored integration program for these students? Not just after school, but an entire program. Thank you for your consideration, Crystal H.

Sophie G.
|
France
June 9, 2011

Sophie G. in France writes:

What role should the US take in assisting the EU to serve the immediate needs of refugees coming from Libya?

What about the long-term? Are there plans for joint US government & NGO collaboration to support the EU and Libyan refugees in the long-run?

Thank you. I look forward to what promising to be an engaging discussion.

Eileen N.
|
California, USA
June 9, 2011

Dr. Eileen N. in California writes:

Thank you for these public outreach programs.

I would like to request one on the United States fading role in the Southern Pacific.

AS
|
District Of Columbia, USA
June 9, 2011

A.S. in Washington, D.C. writes:

I was wondering if your Department had done anything to protect Uyghur refugee Ershidin Israel while he was in Kazakhstan and after his recent deportation to China, where he will most certainly face torture or death? I was also wondering if you had an assistance program to Uyghur refugees fleeing Chinese persecution.

Thanks.

Lady Z.
|
Florida, USA
June 10, 2011

Dr. Dhyana Z. in Florida writes:

What is the current policy on the number of refugees that will be permitted to enter the United States? Is the State Department partnering with the public and private sector to ensure that refugees can obtain employment and have access to other support systems to sustain themselves and their families?

Anthony N.
|
California, USA
June 10, 2011

Anthony N. in California writes:

How is the U.S, its allies and the U.N. working to improve conditions for the Palestinian refugees that are living in inhumane conditions as a result of the illegal occupation by Israel

A.J. a.
|
Syria
June 10, 2011

A.J. in Syria writes:

Is there any urgent plan to expedite resettlement applications for Iraqi refugees living in Syria?

BLESSING R.
|
Massachusetts, USA
June 10, 2011

Blessing R. in Massachusetts writes:

what can be done to encourage countries to be tolerant of refugees.?

with the new surge of refuges from north africa and arab world are their specific program in place to ensure that children within this population that their needs are being met?i.e in terms of food, medicine, education and clothing. why is it that there is somalian refuges in kenya camp?

gregorylent
|
United States
June 11, 2011

Gregory L. in the U.S.A. writes:

globally, how many refugees has america created in the last decade? is there any other country that has created more?

Lauren
|
Massachusetts, USA
June 11, 2011

Lauren in Massachusetts writes:

Since OCHR estimates that 70% of refugees are women and children, if the statistics were disaggregated we would expect that a disproportionate percentage of these women are widows, and since widows are significantly stigmatized, stripped of land and thereby homeless/internally displaced, living in extreme poverty, vulnerable to gender based violence and trafficking as well as vulnerable to pulling their daughters from school to help at home or be married early - what is being done to help these widows and their families? What special approaches are you taking to repatriation when the widows you are repatriating may neither have their own home to go to or - all too often, nor family welcoming them in. What are you doing to help widows obtain documentation so that they can travel? What are you doing to ensure that the missing are searched for? What are you doing to ensure that widows and other women on their own have access to justice and food distribution systems? What are you doing to ensure that widows and other women on their own have employment and training opportunities - even in refugee camps?

Diane
|
Maine, USA
June 11, 2011

Diane in Maine writes:

I am a doctorate student studying conflict resolution and refugee issues. The current U.S. trend is toward greater restrictive foreign and domestic policies that hinder rahter than encourage migration. The reasons often stated are the costs resulting in higher taxation to provide public services for newly arrived refugees and immigrants. What actions would you recommend to help counterbalance this position and shift American public opinion toward more favorable policies?

Thank you.

Christopher C.
|
Minnesota, USA
June 22, 2011

Christopher in Minnesota writes:

Why does the IRC partner with local churches in their attempts to convert Bhutanese refugees to Christianity, for example, IRC's partnership with The Word at Southern Hills church in Abilene, Texas?

Mary
|
New Jersey, USA
June 13, 2011

Mary in New Jersey writes:

Dear Mr. Rupp,

I have been volunteering to resettle refugees in NJ for the past four years.

I have found a great deal of incompetence and inadequate services coming out of the IRC in NJ.

I am wondering what you can do to clean up the NJ IRC?

Milagros Y.
|
Peru
June 12, 2011

Milagros Y. in Peru writes:

Medical assistance , both physical and psychological are a priority for refugees. In this sense , is there a close follow-up of these cases ? . If so, which are the institutions in charge of this ? thank you very much .

Lisa L.
|
New York, USA
June 12, 2011

Lisa L. in New York writes:

I'm not suggesting that the US is responsible for all the peoples of the world but in what ways is the State Dept promoting human capacity development for refugees abroad? Is there any such discussion in treaties that perhaps do not shift the burden to the state but transfers the burden to prosecuting states?

angela d.
|
Missouri, USA
June 13, 2011

Angela D. in Missouri writes:

People only become refugees when they are kicked off of their land, by and or for corporate interest, be it oil, logging or minerals, cocain, marijuana or opium!

And if the world is going to allow this genocide for profit, than they need to send these corporations the bill, for damages, and relocation and a new life for their surviving victims.

Hassan S.
|
Washington, USA
June 13, 2011

Hassan in Washington writes:

Hi everybody there's more somali refugees in Kenya and yemen most if them are Woman kids and elder people they suffering lack of food shelter cloth and medicine hope fully USA will consider their problems Thank You

Hassan from Seattle

Jose M.
|
Dominican Republic
June 13, 2011

Jose M. in the Dominican Republic writes:

I think that is possible, the U. S. Dept. of State can involved other similar dept. all over the world, about the situation of the refugees....all over the same world.

HR A.
|
United States
June 13, 2011

H.R. in the U.S.A. writes:

What can be done about the dangerous and high percentage of deportation of dissidents from Iran fleeing persecution from the Islamic Republic to Turkey, Sweden, England, Cyprus, Greece. In some of these countries, refugee conditions are deplorable and abusive (Greece). Many of these dissidents face certain imprisonment, death, torture if deported. The same is likely to soon apply to the surge of Syrian refugees.

Malin H.
June 13, 2011

Malin H. writes:

Stop the wars...give that money saved to tackle the problem of displaced people. It's that simple. The wars need to stop. The lies and corruption of our government need to stop.

If this were your last day on Earth, would you be proud of what you've done with your life?

systems67
June 22, 2011

W.W. writes:

So Is Battisti a world refugee?

If not I am gonna open Guantanamo just for him

Nancy L.
|
Illinois, USA
June 13, 2011

Nancy L. in Ilinois writes:

I would like to see refugees given an area and language specific handbook or manual, stating the information they need to survive. What the agency has spent on them, the specifics of the program they came into the country on, explanations of their insurance benefits, hospital information, school information, local agency information, federal government programs information, lease information, utility information, all the knowledge the caseworkers are expected to know, should be presented in written form to people upon arrival.

Too often refugees are put in a position where they have no idea about how this country functions and what types of programs are available to them. More attention needs to be paid to helping them form a plan for survival and written information that they can refer back to would help them immensely.

Oral seminars given to very tired and confused people who are often ill just leaves them more confused and frightened.

Why are volags not better organized with written materials they can hand out to make things easier for refugees and ultimately for themselves?

Christopher C.
|
Minnesota, USA
June 13, 2011

Christopher C. in Minnesota writes:

A 2007 State Department PRM monitoring report for the IRC office in Baltimore indicates that the IRC and another resettlement contractor frequently placed refugees into an East Baltimore apartment complex that had evidence of questionable maintenance and security standards (housing that is safe, sanitary, and in good repair is supposedly a State Department refugee contract requirement). Monitors also noted that the IRC had failed to give a three-member Meskhetian Turk refugee family a crib and other supplies for their infant son. I note, again, that these items are listed as “minimum” required items in the State Department contracts. Why does the IRC fail to meet so-called “minimum requirements” of their obligations to refugees in the public/private partnership?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 13, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Malin H. writes:

"Stop the wars...give that money saved to tackle the problem of displaced people. It's that simple. The wars need to stop. The lies and corruption of our government need to stop."

And asks;

"If this were your last day on Earth, would you be proud of what you've done with your life?"

Posted on Mon Jun 13, 2011

---

Well Malin H.,

Your targeting parameters are a bit off dear, you might wish to redirect your statement and complaint to Ghaddafi, Assad, Aminidijad, 'lil Kim so ill in NK, and a host of tyrants great and small including the taliban and al-quaida who oppress people, steal their future by killing folks wantonly without reason, and thumb their noses at US policy that is designed to protect populations.

Ask THEM to stop the wars they either started with us or wage on their own people...

At least this government is doing it's best to eliminate their capacity to make war, and be held accountable for their crimes against humanity. To put an end to their wars.

As for your question, my personal karma is is in positive numbers in the balance of all things considered in my life. But if what I said here is done with my last breath, then you'd do me proud to note that it probably makes too much sense for you to ignore...(chuckle).

That might be only a small, but I think significant achievment in lending you a clue.

But hey!... it's like leading a horse to water, they have to be willing to think about it, before reliving their thirst.

Or in gazing into their reflection between slurps...

I can only take you half the way there,

EJ

Louise
|
North Carolina, USA
June 22, 2011

Louise in North Carolina writes:

Could you please describe how you monitor the activities of IRC local affiliates to assure that they are adequately performing required services. Could you also comment on what someone should do if he/she suspects a local affiliate is failing in some aspect of its mission.

Nancy L.
|
Illinois, USA
June 13, 2011

Nancy L. in Illinois writes:

I would like to say that I agree entirely with Malin H.

These wars have and continue to do immeasurable harm to everyone exposed to them. Because of the Iraq war there are now over 5 million orphans in that country with no one to look after them.

Refugees coming to the US find themselves in a country with almost nothing to offer them after having lost everything they had in wars they had no part in starting.

No one could explain it better than Howard Zinn...

"So, yes, I came to a conclusion that war cannot be tolerated, no matter what we’re told. And if we think that there are good wars and that, therefore, well, maybe this is a good war, I wanted to examine the so-called good wars, the holy wars, and—yeah, and take a good look at them and think again about the phenomenon of war and come to the conclusion, well, yes, war cannot be tolerated, no matter what we’re told, no matter what tyrant exists, what border has been crossed, what aggression has taken place. It’s not that we’re going to be passive in the face of tyranny or aggression, no, but we’ll find ways other than war to deal with whatever problems we have, because war is inevitably—inevitably—the indiscriminant massive killing of huge numbers of people. And children are a good part of those people. Every war is a war against children."

Let's take all the time, energy and money we spend in violence and destruction and turn it around into doing something positive for all the people and places on earth. The wars have done absolutely no good...only harm.

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