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Take Action: Support Life-Saving Aid to Refugees
March 02, 2011

Take Action: Support Life-Saving Aid to Refugees
Humanitarian programs supported by our government serve as lifelines for refugees and forcibly displaced persons around the world. They provide critical food aid and shelter for desperate people fleeing the terror of war and persecution in countries such as Colombia (above), Burma, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Shaina Aber — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)
"Our civilian overseas assistance programs, at a cost of less than one percent of our nation's budget, are powerful instruments in our exercise of international leadership. They save lives and create conditions for stability. In short, civilian and humanitarian aid programs are remarkably effective and inexpensive investments, and it is not hard to find examples that reflect this basic reality." ~ Eric Schwartz, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration
(Washington, D.C.) March 2, 2011 — The House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 1, a bill which would slash budgets for global refugee assistance (MRA) by 45% and International Disaster Assistance (IDA) by 67%. Such drastic cuts of these historically under-funded accounts will have devastating effects on refugees, victims of torture and trafficking, and will likely destabilize regions already grappling with grave security concerns and limited resources.

As Eric Schwartz, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) stated in an open letter this February, "Our civilian overseas assistance programs, at a cost of less than one percent of our nation's budget, are powerful instruments in our exercise of international leadership. They save lives and create conditions for stability. In short, civilian and humanitarian aid programs are remarkably effective and inexpensive investments, and it is not hard to find examples that reflect this basic reality."

The fight to save these programs is not over. Please let your voice be heard!

Humanitarian programs supported by our government serve as lifelines for refugees and forcibly displaced persons around the world. They provide critical food aid and shelter for desperate people fleeing the terror of war and persecution in countries such as Colombia, Burma, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Haiti they offer clean water projects and medical clinics which save thousands of men and women from the grips of a raging cholera epidemic. They allow NGOs like Jesuit Refugee Service/USA to be more effective in our efforts to create innovative new programs to promote community reconciliation and personal empowerment as war-torn countries work to recover and rebuild. Just within the past year, JRS implemented several new educational and community-building projects in Southern Sudan, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, combining donations from generous private donors with funding from the US government's refugee assistance program.

Cutting refugee and disaster assistance will not only hinder current operations, but will cripple the ability of the U.S. to respond to new emergencies. When a natural disaster strikes, a drought turns into a famine, or a new civil war breaks out somewhere in the world, America will be forced to stay home while the rest of the world struggles to cover for our sudden absence. It is shocking to imagine that in the next major global humanitarian crisis – the next Haiti, the next tsunami, or the next Darfur – the United States might simply fail to show up.

In this harsh global economic environment, cutting life-saving refugee and disaster assistance funds will deny the world's most vulnerable citizens the ability to survive. As a global leader committed to protecting displaced persons, we are risking the health and safety millions of human beings in order to save less than one half of one percent of our nation's annual budget. 

Please click this link to stand with JRS/USA in urging Congress to say NO to cutting funding for refugee and disaster assistance.

To learn more about the JRS/USA Action Network, please visit our Stay Informed page here.



Press Contact Information
Mr Christian Fuchs
communications@jrsusa.org
202-462-0400 ext. 5946