USCRI: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Warehousing Campaign

Recent Progress

USCRI commends the governments and organizations that are taking steps to recognize the rights and needs of refugees and immigrants.  Here are a few examples of recent progress on the world stage:

The government of Ethiopia has recently instituted an “Out of Camp Scheme” which allows Eritrean refugees freedom of movement and the right to education in the country.  The refugee must have a relative or friend to support his or her application to live outside the camp.  On a recent trip to Ethiopia, USCRI Special Projects Manager Danielle Bolks and USCRI Delegate Ken Leung received news of over 200 Eritrean students enrolling and beginning their studies at Addis Ababa University, Mekele University, and Axum University.
USCRI Ethiopia Briefing: Implementation of the Out of Camp Scheme for Eritrean Refugees >>

Lebanon introduced new policies that will bring the country a step closer to ending refugee warehousing.  Lebanon's parliament adopted a new law that will grant some 300,000 Palestinian refugees the right to work in any field open to foreigners.  Long dependent on aid from the United Nations and limited to menial jobs, Palestinians living in Lebanon will now be able to enter the formal labor market—except those fields reserved for Lebanese citizens, such as medicine, law, and engineering.  These new policies are signs of progress toward protecting the rights of those who have endured war and persecution.

Democratic Republic of the Congo
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has begun to distribute refugee identity cards to the more than 150,000 refugees living within its borders.  According to UNHCR, the identity card is equivalent to a resident's permit; it grants its holders many of the same rights as Congolese citizens.  Among these are the rights to work, education, access to health care, and freedom of movement within the country.  Distribution will be extended to all refugees, most of whom originate from Angola, Rwanda, and Burundi.

The government of Japan began a refugee resettlement program and welcomed its first Burmese families in September 2010.

UNHCR Urban Refugee Policy
The steady increase of Iraqi refugees living primarily in urban areas of Syria and Jordan has obliged the refugee community to reconsider the all too common “refugee camp model.”  In 2009, as the world recognized the continued growth of refugees living outside of camps and the need to protect their rights, the United Nations High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges focused on urban refugees.  Subsequently, UNHCR changed its policy towards urban refugees to more fully address the protection needs of refugees, regardless of where they reside, and to more fully address the reality of women, children, and elders within the urban refugee population. 

UNHCR Protracted Refugee Policy
In 2008, the United Nations High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges focused on protracted refugee situations.  Results of this focus included a UNHCR global plan of action for 2009-2011 and a Conclusion on Protracted Refugee Situations which was approved by Executive Committee members in December 2009.

U.S. Department of State, Population, Refugees and Migration’s (PRM) Protracted Refugee Policy
In recent years, the United States government has become more engaged in discussing durable solutions for long term refugee situations.  This year for the first time, the Department of State is drafting policy guidelines around issues of refugee warehousing.  USCRI looks forward to PRM’s upcoming policy, yet unpublished.

Learn More:

Warehousing Campaign Timeline 

Statement Calling for Solutions to End the Warehousing of Refugees

Warehousing: Denial of Rights, Waste of Humanity

Development Assistance for Refugees

Watch USCRI’s Global Ambassador, Jeff Fahey, speaking out for warehoused refugees in this short video: Stonewalling Refugee Rights >>

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