“If anyone would know about being forced to flee from their homes, the Jews would know,” said Anne Mwangi-Wambugu, HIAS’ country director for Kenya, which has taken in refugees from conflicts in neighboring countries as well as gay refugees subject to persecution elsewhere.
Reading about the new procedure that allows voluntary repatriation from detention, one wonders: If the people reported on in the article want to return because they truly want to go home, then why not let them make this decision outside the walls of detention? After all, the result should not be different if this is a genuinely voluntary decision.
HIAS Latin America helps refugees who have fled Colombia’s decades-old civil war and prolonged internal violence. Since the beginning of the war, more than four million Colombians have been displaced within the country and as many as 750,000 have fled the country as refugees. HIAS’ offices in Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela provide crucial psychological and therapeutic services to Colombian refugees that would otherwise have no access to these types of services.
As the quickly approaching rainy season promises devastating flooding, HIAS is on the ground at Goz Amir Camp in southeastern Chad aiding Sudanese refugees relocating from camps on the Sudan–Chad–Central African Republic border.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and representatives of 25 faith-based non-governmental organizations today unveiled a landmark declaration aimed at strengthening protection for the world's more than 40 million refugees, internally-displaced, and stateless people.
The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, also known as the SAFE Act or H.R. 2278, would negatively impact individuals fleeing persecution, including refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless people. This legislation worsens expansive laws targeting terrorism that instead have consequences for refugees and asylees. It expands our immigration detention system that currently holds many torture survivors, asylum seekers, and others seeking protection in the United States from persecution in their home countries.
For more than two decades, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, who died this morning at age 89, championed legislation that created a safe escape route to freedom for persecuted religious minorities from many corners of the globe. Today, HIAS joins the people of New Jersey and America in mourning his loss.
After a little more than a year working at HIAS in Ukraine, I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study human rights and refugee law in the United States. Seeing Ukraine’s asylum system from this new perspective allows me to value Ukraine’s comparative freedom from bureaucracy, but also increases my concern about the country’s relatively low level of respect for the rule of law and human rights.