Decline in U.S. Refugee Funding Hits Aid Budgets
As the United States reduces refugee resettlement at home, it has also lessened aid pledges to refugees abroad, prompting the United Nations to cut budgets and cast around for other donors.
A donor conference in Brussels this week aimed to raise more than $6 billion for vulnerable Syrians and Syrian refugees, but only $4.4 billion was raised after the U.S. failed to send a pledge.
U.N. officials hope more funds will be pledged following the conference, noting that the U.S. gave more than $1 billion a year to such appeals in the past. An additional $3.4 billion was raised for next year, mostly from the European Union.
“This conference didn’t go nearly far enough to provide adequate support to the millions of Syrians in need of assistance and who are left facing an uncertain future,” a coalition of nine NGOs, including Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision, said in a statement.
The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, also warned that its emergency food aid will run out in June as other donors have not plugged a gap in U.S. funding. Historically its biggest donor, this year the U.S. provided only $60 million of its pledged $365 million.
The agency faces a $200 million shortfall even after Gulf states, Norway and Canada made up some of the difference, and is exploring the possibility of private-sector funding and personal donations.
Germany to Review Status of Thousands of Yazidis
Germany will review thousands of people’s refugee status after a migration official was suspected of wrongly approving asylum claims. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) will review 4,568 asylum rulings made between 2013 and 2017.
A BAMF official in the northern city of Bremen is accused of giving asylum to more than 1,200 people, mostly members of Iraq’s persecuted Yazidi minority, without going through proper procedures. The BAMF said it has since put a quality assurance system in place.
U.S. Officials Can’t Find Central American Children Placed With Sponsors
U.S. authorities lost track of almost 1,500 unaccompanied children who fled to the country and were placed with adult sponsors.
Following the increase in Central American children arriving at the border since 2013, the U.S. government has placed 180,000 children with parents or other adult sponsors while they await immigration proceedings.
The Health and Human Services Department has a limited budget to follow up on their welfare, and an investigation by the Associated Press found dozens of cases of abuse or forced labor.
A department official told a Senate subcommittee hearing that it followed up on 7,635 children placed with sponsors and were not able to find 1,475 of them. “You are the worst foster parents in the world. You don’t even know where they are,” Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp told the official.
- International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: Political Participation of Refugees: Bridging the Gaps
- The Lancet: Humanitarian Disaster for Rohingya Refugees: Impending Natural Hazards and Worsening Public Health Crises
- The Associated Press: Portable Test Helps Identify Refugees at Risk of Outbreaks
- The New York Times: What Refugees Face on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route