News Archives

Secretary Clinton’s Joint Statement With Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi After Their Meeting

PRIME MINISTER GONZI: Good morning. Thank you for joining us for this press statement. Once again, Excellency, Madam Secretary of State, it’s a pleasure to have you here and to express at great (inaudible) my welcome to you for this visit to Malta. This has been an opportunity for us, once again, to reiterate the strong relationship and friendship that exists between Malta and the United States, a relationship that has grown over the years, strengthening from one circumstance to another and also finding its culmination, I must say, in the recent events that have happened in the Mediterranean region.

All of you are aware that events in the Mediterranean in these last 10 months, 11 months, have brought tremendous change, which we in Malta consider to be very good news for all of us. This is a transformation that is taking place. It is a historic event that has taken place, and history has demanded from Malta a specific role, which we have performed and tried to perform to the best of our abilities.

We see now that the phase of evacuation and violence is hopefully finished, and we see three countries – Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya – moving towards a path that hopefully will lead to a democracy, which the people of these countries with themselves, designed for themselves. And therefore, Malta will continue to provide and support in the widest manner possible.

And this was a theme which we discussed in some detail with Madam Secretary of State, and I am pleased to note that we are completely – in complete agreement on what needs to be done in the immediate circumstance, which is still a little bit of a humanitarian challenge, especially with what has been happening in Sirte and continues to happen, but also in the medium to long term and how – what contribution we can make, all of us, to see the whole scenario develop in the best interest, not only of our region, but I would say of the whole world.

We also spent some quality time discussing bilateral issues of importance. Malta is extremely grateful to the Government of the United States for the support we have received constantly on the issue of resettlement of immigrants and resettlement of these persons in the United States, and we appreciate the contribution, the help and support, the understanding that we’ve constantly received from the United States. We are also grateful that we have mentioned recent times to sign a (inaudible) agreement, a visa waiver agreement, all of which are clear indications of this strong relationship that continues to develop.

So I believe that this visit, once again, consolidates something which is already very strong, but prepares also an opportunity for us to continue to grow in the future. So thank you very much, Madam, and I leave the – it open for you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Prime Minister. And I am pleased to be the first Secretary of State in the United States to visit Malta in more than two decades. It is, for me, the opportunity that I was seeking to thank the government and people of Malta for their extraordinary response to the events of this last year and to reaffirm the strong partnership and friendship between our two countries.

I’m also delighted to announce that President Obama has decided to nominate one of our most experienced diplomats, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, to be our ambassador here. We stand ready to assist in every way possible with Malta’s critical role in the events of the Arab Spring and now the fall.

In our meeting today, I thanked the prime minister for Malta’s assistance in evacuating American citizens and Embassy staff from Libya earlier this year. The prime minister, the entire government, and many private citizens went the extra mile to get our people home safely, and we are very grateful.

As you just heard from the prime minister, as someone who is on the frontlines of watching what is happening here in the Mediterranean region, he is very well acquainted with the challenges and opportunities that the people of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and the greater region are facing. And in fact, I think that the prime minister has been particularly helpful in meeting with and counseling representatives of the new Libya over the last several months, as they look to build a new future for their country. There’s no doubt that Malta will continue to play a critical role in helping to establish the rule of law and providing health and education services and to help create an inclusive government that will represent all Libyans from all areas of the country, and of course including the women of Libya. Malta’s unique geography, history, and expertise will make it a valued partner in this work.

The prime minister and I also discussed our shared interest in keeping the Mediterranean safe from illicit nuclear materials and enforcing international sanctions against Iran’s proliferation activities. The United States appreciates Malta’s leadership in this area, including its work with the international community to interdict prohibited Iranian cargo, to deny port access to ships that are bearing illegal cargoes, and working as a good partner in the enforcement of United Nations sanctions. I also want to recognize Malta’s efforts to stop the flow of human trafficking across the Mediterranean and to assist political refugees from conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa as well.

All of these efforts underscore that while Malta may be a small nation in size, its contributions to regional peace and security are significant. And the United States highly values this partnership, and we look forward to working even more closely in the future.

So, again, let me thank you, Prime Minister, for your leadership. Let me thank your government, with whom we have excellent cooperative relationships, and let me thank the people of Malta for not only their hospitality to me and my delegation, but more importantly their openness and support for the aspirations of the people in this extraordinarily important region. So thank you very much.

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FY 2012 Funding Opportunity Announcement for NGO Programs Benefiting Refugees and Refugee Returnees in Rwanda, the DRC, Tanzania and Uganda

Funding Opportunity Number: PRM-AFR-12-CA-AF-100611-GREATLAKES

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number:

19.517 – Overseas Refugee Assistance Programs for Africa

Announcement issuance date: Thursday, October 06, 2011

Proposal submission deadline: Friday, November 04, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) EDT. Proposals submitted after this deadline cannot be considered.

Advisory: Grants.gov experiences continued high volume of activity. PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal several days early to allow time to address difficulties that may arise due to system delays.

Proposed Program Start Dates: January 1, 2012—March 1, 2012

Duration of Activity: Program plans for the DRC should be no more than 12 months. Applicants must re-compete for PRM funding each year. Furthermore, in funding a project one year, PRM makes no representations that it will continue to fund the project in successive years and encourages applicants to seek a wide array of donors to ensure long-term funding possibilities.

Program plans from 12 to 24 months will be considered for activities addressing protracted needs in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda. Applicants may submit multi-year proposals with activities and budgets that do not exceed 24 months from the proposed start date. Actual awards will not exceed 12 months in duration. Multi-year proposals selected for funding by PRM will be funded in 12-month increments and must include results-based indictors within the first 12 months. Continued funding after the initial 12-month award requires the submission of a noncompeting continuation application as detailed in the Noncompeting Application Requirements section below and will be contingent upon available funding, strong performance, and continuing need. NGOs receiving awards under these terms will be required to submit continuation applications at least three months in advance of the end of each 12-month period of activities. Please see the “Proposal Content, Formatting, and Templates” section for additional guidance.

Current Country Specific Funding Priorities and Instructions: PRM will prioritize available funding for Tanzania, Rwanda, the DRC and Uganda as identified below. All proposals should target beneficiaries as identified in collaboration with UNHCR and local authorities.

(1) Tanzania and Rwanda

· Proposals for Tanzania should focus exclusively on life-saving basic preventative and curative healthcare assistance (including reproductive health) in the remaining refugee camps in western Tanzania (Nyaragusu and Mtabila).

· Proposals for Rwanda should focus on camp management, life-saving basic preventative and curative healthcare assistance (including reproductive health), water and sanitation, and/or gender based violence prevention and response for refugees.

· While PRM does not discourage activities that also include the local host population along with refugees, proposals should concentrate on activities for refugees. At least 80% of beneficiaries must be refugees.

(2) DRC

· Proposed activities for the DRC should support prevention of and response to gender based violence in areas of refugee return in South Kivu and Katanga.

· Proposals should focus on areas of high refugee return where new refugee returnees (those who have returned in 2010-2012) make up at least 50% of targeted beneficiaries. Proposals should specify refugee returnee population numbers and/or projections for 2012 in proposed locations.

· Proposals should describe how the proposed activities fit into the Comprehensive Strategy on Combating Sexual Violence in the DRC.

(3) Uganda

· For Uganda proposals should focus on protection, including prevention of and response to gender based violence in urban refugee communities.

· At least 80% of beneficiaries must be refugees with the remainder being vulnerable individuals in host communities.

General Instructions

PRM will accept proposals from any NGO working in the above mentioned sectors although, given budgetary constraints, priority will be given to proposals from organizations that can demonstrate:

· A working relationship with UNHCR, current UNHCR funding, and/or a letter of support from UNHCR for the proposed activities and/or overall country program (this letter should highlight the gap in services the proposed program is designed to address);

· An established presence and a proven track record providing proposed assistance both in the sector and specified location;

· Coordination with international organizations (IOs) and NGOs working in the same area or sector as well as local authorities;

· A concrete implementation plan with well-conceived objectives and indicators that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and reliable, time-bound and trackable (SMART), have established baselines, and at least one outcome indicator per objective;

· A budget that is appropriate for meeting the objectives and demonstrates co-funding and/or cost-sharing by non-US government sources;

· Appropriate targeting of beneficiaries in coordination with UNHCR and other relevant organizations. Because of PRM’s mandate to provide protection, assistance, and sustainable solutions for refugees and victims of conflict, PRM will only consider funding projects that include a target beneficiary base of at least 80% refugees or 50% refugee returnees.

· Adherence to relevant international standards for humanitarian assistance. See PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for a complete list of sector-specific standards.

International Organizations (IOs) that are engaged in programs relevant to the assistance addressed by this PRM funding announcement should ensure that these programs are made known to PRM on or before the closing date of this funding announcement so that PRM can evaluate all IO and NGO programs for funding consideration.

Funding Limits:

For Rwanda PRM will consider proposals with budgets up to $1,700,000.

For DRC and Tanzania PRM will consider proposals with budgets up to $600,000.

For Uganda PRM will consider proposals with budgets up to $300,000.

As stated in the PRM’s General NGO Guidelines, PRM looks favorably on cost-sharing efforts and seeks to support projects with a diverse donor base and/or resources from the submitting organization.

Approval of projects is subject to the availability of funding.

Proposal Submission Requirements:

See “How to Apply” (http://www.grants.gov/applicants/applicant_faqs.jsp#applying) on Grants.gov for complete details on requirements, and note the following highlights:

· Proposals must be submitted via Grants.gov. Organizations not registered with Grants.gov should register well in advance of the November 4, 2011 deadline as it can take up to two weeks to finalize registration (sometimes longer for non-U.S. based NGOs to get the required registration numbers). To register with Grants.gov, organizations must first receive a DUNS number and register with the Central Contract Registry (CCR) which can take weeks and sometimes months. See “Applicant FAQs” section on Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov/help/applicant_faqs.jsp#applying) for complete details on registering.

· Do not wait until the last minute to submit your application on Grants.gov. Applicants who have done so in the past and experienced technical difficulties were not able to meet the deadline and were not considered for funding. Please note: Grants.gov is expected to experience continued high volumes of activity in the near future. PRM strongly recommends submitting your proposal several days early to avoid submission delays. We recommend that organizations, particularly first-time applicants, submit applications via Grants.gov no later than one week before the deadline to avoid last-minute technical difficulties that could result in an application not being considered.

· If you encounter technical difficulties with Grants.gov please contact the Grants.gov Help Desk at support@grants.gov or by calling 1-800-518-4726. Applicants who are unable to submit applications via Grants.gov due to Grants.gov technical difficulties and who have reported the problem(s) to the Grants.gov help desk and received a case number and had a service request opened to research the problem(s), should contact PRM Program Officer Wendy Henning at (202) 453-9380 or henningwl@state.gov to determine whether an alternative method of submission is appropriate.

· Applications must be submitted under the authority of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) at the applicant organization. PRM recommends submitting proposals from agency headquarters. Having proposals submitted by agency headquarters helps to avoid possible technical problems.

· NGOs that have not received PRM funding prior to the U.S. Government fiscal year ending September 30, 2004 must be prepared to demonstrate that they meet the financial and accounting requirements of the U.S. Government by submitting copies of 1) the most recent external financial audit, 2) non-profit tax status under IRS 501 (c)(3), 3) a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, and 4) an Employer ID (EIN)/Federal Tax Identification number.

Proposal Content, Formatting and Template:

Please refer to the “Proposal Submission and Review Process” section in PRM’s General NGO Guidelines. PRM strongly encourages organizations applying for PRM funding to use the PRM recommended proposal and budget templates. Templates can be requested by sending an email to PRM’s NGO Coordinator. You must type “PRM NGO Templates” in the subject line to receive an automated reply containing the template.

In addition to referencing the General NGO Guidelines, applicants proposing multi-year programs should adhere to the following guidance.

Applicants may submit proposals that include multi-year strategies presented in 12-month cycles for a period not to exceed 24 months from the proposed start date. Fully developed programs with detailed budgets, objectives and indicators are required for the first 12 months of activities. PRM expects all multi-year program plans to broadly outline out-year activities. Multi-year strategies should include notional budgets (budget summaries only) for out-year activities. Objectives and indicators for out-year 12-month program cycles are not required as part of the initial proposal and will be submitted with continuation applications.


This announcement is designed to accompany the General NGO Guidelines, which contain additional administrative information and explain in detail PRM’s NGO funding strategy and priorities. Please use both the General NGO Guidelines and this announcement to ensure that the proposed activities are in line with PRM’s priorities and that your proposal submission is in full compliance with PRM requirements. Proposal submissions that do not meet all of the requirements outlined in these guidelines will not be considered. PRM recommends using the proposal and budget templates that are available upon email request from PRM’s NGO Coordinator. Please send an email, with the phrase “PRM NGO templates” in the subject line, to PRM’s NGO Coordinator.

· Proposals should outline how the NGO will acknowledge PRM funding. If an organization believes that publicly acknowledging the receipt of USG funding for a particular PRM-funded project could potentially endanger the lives of the beneficiaries and/or the organization staff, invite suspicion about the organization’s motives, or alienate the organization from the population it is trying to help, it must provide a brief explanation in its proposal as to why it should be exempted from this requirement.

· Focus on outcome or impact indicators as much as possible. At a minimum, each objective should have one outcome or impact indicator. Wherever possible, baselines should be established before the start of the project.

· To increase PRM’s ability to track the impact of PRM funding, include specific information on locations of projects and beneficiaries. Any project involving the building or maintenance of physical infrastructure must include coordinates of site locations (place name, P-Code, latitude and longitude coordinates).

· Budget must include a specific breakdown of funds being provided by UNHCR, other USG agencies, other donors, and your own organization (where applicable). PRM strongly encourages multi-lateral support for humanitarian programs.

· Organizations that received PRM funding in FY 2010 for activities that are being proposed for funding under this announcement must include the most recent quarterly progress report against indicators outlined in the cooperative agreement. If an organization’s last quarterly report was submitted more than six weeks prior to the submission of a proposal in response to this funding announcement, the organization must include, with its most recent quarterly report, updates that show any significant progress made on objectives since the last report.

Reports and Reporting Requirements:

Program reporting: PRM requires quarterly and final program reports describing and analyzing the results of activities undertaken during the validity period of the agreement. It is highly suggested that NGOs receiving PRM funding use the PRM recommended program report template. To request this template, send an email with the phrase “PRM NGO templates” in the subject line to PRM’s NGO Coordinator.

Financial Reports: Financial reports are required within thirty (30) days following the end of each calendar year quarter during the validity period of the agreement; a final financial report covering the entire period of the agreement is required within ninety (90) days after the expiration date of the agreement.

For more details regarding PRM’s reporting requirements please see the General NGO Guidelines.

Noncompeting Application Requirements

Multi-year applications selected for funding by PRM will be funded in 12-month increments based on the proposals submitted in the competing application and as approved by PRM. Continued funding after the initial 12-month award requires the submission of a noncompeting continuation application as follows:

· Continuation applications must be submitted not later than 90 days than the proposed start date of the award ( e.g., if funding the next budget period is to begin on September 1, submit your application by June 1. Late applications will jeopardize continued funding.

· Applications must be signed by the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) at the applicant organization on the submitted SF-424.

· Pursuant to U.S. Code, Title 218, Section 1001, stated on OMB Standard Form 424 (SF-424), Department of State is authorized to consolidate the certifications and assurances required by Federal law or regulations for its federal assistance programs. The list of certifications and assurances can be found at: http://fa.statebuy.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=161&menu_id=68 )

· Proposal Content, Formatting and Templates: Please refer to the guidance contained within and in the PRM NGO Guidelines. The total budget should not exceed the amount which is listed on the current Federal Assistance Award. You must submit a complete application including:

o Signed completed SF-424.

o Proposal reflecting objectives and indicators for the continuation period.

o Budget for the continuation period.

o Budget narrative.

o Most recent Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA), if applicable.

o Information on the amount of unexpended funds to include a statement of the estimated cumulative total dollar amount taking into consideration the actual expenditures shown on the Financial Status Report. Note that funds are available for expenditure only during the period in which they are awarded.

Proposal Review Process:
PRM will conduct a formal competitive review of all proposals submitted in response to this funding announcement. A review panel will evaluate submissions based on the above-referenced proposal evaluation criteria and PRM priorities in the context of available funding.

PRM may request revised proposals and/or budgets based on feedback from the panel. PRM will provide formal notifications to NGOs of final decisions taken by Bureau management.

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Margaret Pollack on International Protection at UNHCR’s Executive Committee meeting agenda item on protection

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I would also like to thank the Assistant High Commissioner for her remarks today.

The United States’ commitment to the protection of refugees, asylum seekers, displaced populations, stateless persons, and other persons of concern to UNHCR remains strong. As we mark the 60th anniversary of UNHCR’s creation, the U.S. Government is proud of our long history of support to UNHCR as it has pursued its mandate to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Protection is an intrinsic goal of the humanitarian diplomacy and programming of the United States. While U.S. protection efforts may not always achieve the results we desire, we know beyond doubt that our work in concert with UNHCR and Member States has saved countless lives during the past six decades and has protected tens of millions of people from persecution and violations of their rights during their search for safety.

None of us here today is new to the challenges — and the imperative — of providing protection. To better prepare ourselves within the U.S. Government for the complex protection challenges facing us today and into the future, we adopted last month, for the first time, an internal policy on protection that will push us to consider more affirmatively our protection goals and to articulate more clearly what protection means to us as UNHCR’s partner. I want to underscore that this does not signal that the U.S. Government is significantly altering its promotion of protection. Rather, our written internal policy on protection will serve as a tool — a strategic framework — that we will use to help organize our approach and maximize our efforts as we work to address the broad range of protection threats that confront the large and diverse populations of concern to UNHCR and my government.

We have defined protection as follows: “Measures to safeguard the rights of…populations of concern by seeking to prevent or end patterns of violence or abuse; alleviate the trauma and related effects of violence and abuse; identify and promote durable solutions; foster respect for refugee, humanitarian and human rights law; and ensure that humanitarian actions uphold human dignity, benefit the most vulnerable, and do not harm affected populations.” This definition draws upon basic protection principles expressed by UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and various nongovernmental organizations. The U.S. Government will apply these principles in our own efforts to fulfill protection commitments as we monitor the efforts of UNHCR and other states.

Our protection policy articulates four broad goals. The first is to address or prevent violations of human rights and acts that undermine humanitarian principles. It is well understood that effective protection seeks to prevent violations before they occur or stop abuses that are taking place. In our pursuit of this first goal, we will continue to work with UNHCR and Member States to address the most egregious violations affecting populations of concern. We will encourage UNHCR to respond and report aggressively on instances of refoulement and forced return. We will continue to speak out, unilaterally and with other Member States, against incidents of armed attacks and gender-based violence which violate international law, and seek to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian agencies. The emergency in the Horn of Africa is currently the most prominent example of the challenges we face collectively in addressing and preventing serious protection concerns.

Our second policy goal is to fill protection gaps. This refers to the need to strengthen the tools, the systems, and the international architecture that already exist to render protection. In pursuit of this goal, the U.S. Government will continue to support and promote universal adherence to international law obligations under international refugee law, humanitarian law, and human rights law, and acts consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, and other principles such as fair refugee status determination procedures, family reunification, registration and documentation procedures for populations of concern, and the pursuit of durable solutions. Wherever these basic protection tools are ignored or applied incorrectly, a protection gap exists.

Third, we aim to strengthen and monitor standards, indicators, and institutional capacities for protection. This goal applies directly to the management and operational functions of UNHCR and other humanitarian partners. We will continue to encourage interagency protection coordination, improved protection skills and capacities, and establishment of appropriate indicators to measure protection impact. We will monitor UNHCR’s performance on all these fronts.

Our fourth protection goal is to address more effectively the distinct protection challenges posed by diverse populations of concern. We support UNHCR’s deeper engagement with internally displaced populations, mixed migration flows, and statelessness issues in recent years, as well as UNHCR’s efforts to develop improved policies and guidelines to protect unaccompanied and separated children, urban refugees, LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups and individuals. Vulnerable migrants often face appalling abuses yet may not fall under traditional definitions of refugees or displaced persons. Some who begin their journey as economic migrants are rendered especially vulnerable due to lack of immigration documentation; their status should not make them any less deserving of protection. UNHCR’s own Ten-Point Plan of Action laudably addresses these very issues. And we welcome the MOU signed by UNHCR and the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, as reflected in the year’s Note on International Protection, with a particular focus on combating racism and related xenophobia as a key protection priority. While we affirm that broad protection principles apply to all populations of concern, we are sensitive to the fact that each population group is prone to encounter unique or distinct protection threats and may therefore require different solutions. We recognize that UNHCR staff, as well as our own personnel, require a sophisticated degree of knowledge and enhanced skills to protect this diverse range of populations.

Mr. Chairman, as we pursue these goals, we will continue to work with UNHCR, other governments, and partners to advance durable solutions for protracted refugee situations. For example, many speakers have raised the of Bhutanese refugees this week. We remain unwavering in our support for Bhutanese refugee resettlement. At the same time, we believe the right of refugees to return to Bhutan is important. We strongly urge the Government of Bhutan to do its part to contribute to a solution to the protracted refugee situation of Bhutanese refugees by immediately accepting for repatriation refugee cases of special humanitarian concern.

In conclusion, the United States is motivated by a determination to be as strategic, relentless, and formidable as possible in our efforts on behalf of international protection. With this policy as our organizing framework, we will continue to work with UNHCR and other Member States to strengthen protection of the world’s persecuted and uprooted people. This December, Member States will have a unique opportunity to signal their respective commitments to international protection at the ministerial-level meeting to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 50th anniversary of the Statelessness Convention. We challenge everyone in this room to do their part in preparing pledges for this historic event.


Ambassador Efird on Humanitarian Issues and Other Commitments

(As prepared for delivery at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Session 11: Humanitarian Issues and Other Commitments Migrant workers, the integration of legal migrants; Refugees and displaced persons; Treatment of citizens of other participating States; Citizenship and political rights; Democracy at the national, regional and local levels)

The United States government remains deeply concerned about the vulnerability of migrants, refugees, and displaced and stateless persons within the OSCE region as we commemorate the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

Recent political transitions in the Mediterranean and North Africa have resulted in close to a million displaced persons, with many fleeing to European borders by sea and other means. We support ongoing efforts by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to work with governments, including by providing migrants with the opportunity to seek and receive protection if necessary, and by assisting local maritime authorities to assist those in distress. We view such efforts as integral to support for democratic efforts taking place in the region and urge participating States to treat these vulnerable migrants with respect, compassion, and humanity.

The circumstances giving rise to refugees and displaced persons around the Mediterranean Basin remind us that the requirements of the Dublin Regulation place a disproportionate asylum burden on OSCE border countries with accompanying tensions in these countries. We must better address this continuing challenge in the context of our OSCE commitments. Specifically, at the Ljubljana Ministerial Council of 2005, the participating States committed to “. . . promote dignified treatment of all individuals wanting to cross borders, in conformity with relevant national legal frameworks, international law, in particular human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law, and relevant OSCE commitments.” The failure to distinguish asylum seekers from those migrating for other reasons and the increased use of detention, including for unaccompanied children, continue to be major obstacles for those seeking protection and hinder efforts to meet the expectations laid forth in Ljubljana.

The plight of refugees and displaced persons in the Western Balkans—numbering in the hundreds of thousands—remains a concern even as the countries move closer to European integration. Finding permanent solutions requires, first and foremost, addressing the still pervasive hostility toward returnees. Threats, harassment and even attacks on returnees and potential returnees must stop. Local authorities, particularly in parts of Croatia, the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and throughout Kosovo, have a responsibility to take action to counter anti-return sentiments. European countries outside the region who have hosted those who fled the conflicts of the 1990s must also ensure that the conditions exist for safe and sustainable returns. This particularly applies to the return of Roma to Kosovo. Helping local authorities in receiving and integrating those who return is not only a humane act but also one that serves the self-interest of all the parties involved. Without such assistance, returnees may feel compelled to leave their homes once again to seek greater security elsewhere in Europe. We welcome the decision in August of authorities in Baden-Wuerttemberg to suspend the deportation of Roma back to Kosovo. Although the GOK and partner organizations have improved their capacity and have more of the resources needed to reintegrate Roma, this group still faces fundamental challenges, including unemployment and inadequate housing.

On another issue in the Western Balkans, we encourage Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia to continue in their joint efforts, in coordination with the international community, to assure durable solutions for refugees and IDPs remaining from the displacement of 1991-1995.

We favor the protection of displaced populations in the South Caucasus and the provision of humanitarian assistance to address the needs that result from their displacement. In Georgia, we support a meaningful international presence that includes the OSCE and other international actors. This can play a valuable role in reducing tensions, facilitating humanitarian assistance, and monitoring and improving human rights and humanitarian conditions on the ground. We note, however, that the success of any international effort depends on unhindered access to the whole of Georgia, including the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

We are also concerned about continuing obstacles faced by persons displaced by the violence that took place in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. While temporary housing and building material has been provided by international donors, ongoing city redevelopment plans threaten long-term rebuilding efforts and property rights. Displaced ethnic Uzbeks have been disproportionately affected by such plans, and continue to face excessive bureaucratic obstacles in their efforts to recover property deeds or other documents or receive compensation for their losses. Kyrgyz authorities have done little to rebuild ethnic Uzbek businesses destroyed during the violence; instead there are credible and disturbing reports that ethnic Kyrgyz have expropriated ethnic Uzbek businesses through coercion or threats.

The United States remains concerned that government officials and political leaders in the OSCE region continue to contribute to a climate of xenophobia through anti-immigrant statements. In its worst instances, this can lead to bias-motivated violence against refugees, asylum seekers, and others. For example, the recent tragedy in Norway was inspired in part by misguided beliefs that Muslim migrants were destroying Europe, as well as the desire to stop politicians and others who were perceived as having facilitated entry into Europe for Muslim immigrants and their descendants and others.

Government officials and political and civic leaders should strive toward strategies that reduce racial prejudice and community tension around immigration issues, and maximize the human capital potential of those entering the country. We should use the ongoing debate regarding the expulsions of Roma from France and evictions of Roma in Italy and elsewhere to move us closer to those goals.

In this context we welcome the 2011 OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Annual Session Resolution on “Strengthening Efforts to Combat Racism and Xenophobia and Foster Inclusion,” and look forward to follow up on it in the OSCE. We also commend the Council of Europe Report “Living together: Combining diversity and freedom in 21st-century Europe.”

Challenges also remain in our own country. We continue to battle negative views and actions towards migrants, including by collecting data on and responding to hate crimes directed against them.

We encourage participating States to utilize the many resources the OSCE has developed that can assist us in implementing our commitments. We support the OSCE’s Annual Hate Crimes Report, new Training against Hate Crimes for Law Enforcement program and continue to support cooperative efforts to address the problem, such as the Memorandum of Understanding between UNHCR and ODIHR to further bolster existing cooperation in monitoring, reporting and capacity‐building related to hate crimes. We encourage the use of the OSCE/IOM “Training Modules on Labour Migration Management –Trainer’s Manual” in the development of migration programs and policies that will contribute to stability and security. We also remain supportive of efforts by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities that have focused on the integration of migrants and relieving societal tensions linked to migration.

As the United States noted at the Lithuanian Chairmanship’s timely Special Thematic Event on Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees, the OSCE has a unique role in fostering the capacity for the dignified voluntary return of displaced persons and finding durable solutions for refugees.


Ambassador Robinson Addresses the UNHCR Executive Committee

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for your leadership of this Committee over the past year. And thank you, Mr. High Commissioner, for your remarks this morning. And Mr. High Commissioner, thank you for your extraordinary personal leadership over this past year. You have been a tireless advocate on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people and have been a strong and persuasive voice for reform and enhancement of the international system. Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, 2011 has witnessed new crises and new opportunities. The promise of democracy throughout the Arab world is encouraging – and UNHCR’s assistance to those seeking protection from the civil unrest throughout the region is to be commended.

It is the human tragedy in Somalia and throughout the Horn of Africa, however, which I will use today as a lens for my remarks – and for five basic observations.

First, protection must be the fundamental goal of the international community – and UNHCR’s leadership has never been more essential. Whether the threat is forced return of refugees, improper denial of asylum, gender-based violence, blockages of humanitarian access or restrictions on freedom of movement, UNHCR must be ready to act. Organizational pressures must never be allowed to outweigh or slow-down the response to protection concerns.

Second, no one government or agency can do it alone. Nurturing and valuing long-standing partnerships while developing new ones must be the operational foundation of UNHCR’s work. These partnerships are essential to UNHCR’s role in the UN cluster system, to implementation of its urban refugee policy and Transitional Solutions Initiative, to responding effectively in emergencies when UNHCR’s capacity is stretched across major and sometimes multiple crises at once, and to meeting so many more humanitarian assistance and protection needs. Organizational mandate must never stand in the way of timely and adequate assistance.

Third, UNHCR’s response to emergencies is the most visible element of its work. It is the one that makes the headlines. Scaling up quickly to new crises must be the operating norm, not simply a plan on paper. Organizational capacity must be strengthened by a human resources policy that delivers good performance in emergency situations.

Fourth, results-based management and the ability to measure performance is no longer a new concept. It has been a major part of UNHCR’s vocabulary for nearly a decade. However, the report of the Board of Auditors for 2010 is troubling in its examination of progress. Organizational inertia must not be allowed to stand in the way of a structured and digestible analysis of progress and impact that can steer senior leadership towards priorities for intervention.

Fifth, and finally, humanitarian diplomats and humanitarian implementers must work hand-in-hand. No longer is just physical and legal assistance enough. Solutions to long-standing refugee situations require sustained and strengthened involvement in policy advocacy. We must be relentless, formidable, and effective advocates for victims of persecution, violence, and human rights abuses. We must be emboldened by a very broad conception of our humanitarian and protection responsibilities. Organizational working methods must be supported by skillful and aggressive humanitarian diplomacy at every level, as the High Commissioner so eloquently demonstrated.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the United States remains a committed partner with UNHCR and the beneficiaries it serves. We are providing more than $680 million dollars this year to the organization to assist its work across all four pillars defining its populations of concern – refugee assistance, refugee returns and reintegration, the internally displaced, and stateless persons. We know the work is not always easy – nor the solutions fast enough. We continue to salute UNHCR’s staff for what they do in often very difficult and dangerous environments. And we are resolved to continue our work as a member of the international community represented in this room today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities


SUBJECT: Creation of an Interagency Atrocities Prevention Board and Corresponding Interagency Review

Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.

Our security is affected when masses of civilians are slaughtered, refugees flow across borders, and murderers wreak havoc on regional stability and livelihoods.  America’s reputation suffers, and our ability to bring about change is constrained, when we are perceived as idle in the face of mass atrocities and genocide.  Unfortunately, history has taught us that our pursuit of a world where states do not systematically slaughter civilians will not come to fruition without concerted and coordinated effort.

Governmental engagement on atrocities and genocide too often arrives too late, when opportunities for prevention or low-cost, low-risk action have been missed.  By the time these issues have commanded the attention of senior policy makers, the menu of options has shrunk considerably and the costs of action have risen.

In the face of a potential mass atrocity, our options are never limited to either sending in the military or standing by and doing nothing.  The actions that can be taken are many    they range from economic to diplomatic interventions, and from non combat military actions to outright intervention.  But ensuring that the full range of options is available requires a level of governmental organization that matches the methodical organization characteristic of mass killings.

Sixty six years since the Holocaust and 17 years after Rwanda, the United States still lacks a comprehensive policy framework and a corresponding interagency mechanism for preventing and responding to mass atrocities and genocide.  This has left us ill prepared to engage early, proactively, and decisively to prevent threats from evolving into large scale civilian atrocities.

Accordingly, I hereby direct the establishment of an interagency Atrocities Prevention Board within 120 days from the date of this Presidential Study Directive.  The primary purpose of the Atrocities Prevention Board shall be to coordinate a whole of government approach to preventing mass atrocities and genocide.  By institutionalizing the coordination of atrocity prevention, we can ensure:  (1) that our national security apparatus recognizes and is responsive to early indicators of potential atrocities; (2) that departments and agencies develop and implement comprehensive atrocity prevention and response strategies in a manner that allows “red flags” and dissent to be raised to decision makers; (3) that we increase the capacity and develop doctrine for our foreign service, armed services, development professionals, and other actors to engage in the full spectrum of smart prevention activities; and (4) that we are optimally positioned to work with our allies in order to ensure that the burdens of atrocity prevention and response are appropriately shared.

To this end, I direct the National Security Advisor to lead a focused interagency study to develop and recommend the membership, mandate, structure, operational protocols, authorities, and support necessary for the Atrocities Prevention Board to coordinate and develop atrocity prevention and response policy.  Specifically, the interagency review shall identify:

operational protocols necessary for the Atrocities Prevention Board to coordinate and institutionalize the Federal Government’s efforts to prevent and respond to potential atrocities and genocide, including but not limited to:  identifying (standing and ex officio) members of the Atrocities Prevention Board; defining the scope of the Atrocity Prevention Board’s mandate and the means by which it will ensure that the full range of options and debate is presented to senior-level decision makers; identifying triggers for the development of atrocity prevention strategies; identifying any specific authority the Atrocities Prevention Board or its members should have with respect to alerting the President to a potential genocide or atrocity;

how the Intelligence Community and other relevant Government agencies can best support the Atrocities Prevention Board’s mission, including but not limited to:  examining the multiplicity of existing early warning assessments in order to recommend how these efforts can be better coordinated and/or consolidated, support the work of the Atrocities Prevention Board, and drive the development of atrocity prevention strategies and policies; examining options for improving intelligence and open source assessments of the potential for genocide and mass atrocities; and examining protocols for safely declassifying and/or sharing intelligence when needed to galvanize regional actors, allies, or relevant institutions to respond to an atrocity or genocide; and

steps toward creating a comprehensive policy framework for preventing mass atrocities, including but not limited to:  conducting an inventory of existing tools and authorities across the Government that can be drawn upon to prevent atrocities; identifying new tools or capabilities that may be required; identifying how we can better support and train our foreign and armed services, development professionals, and build the capacity of key regional allies and partners, in order to be better prepared to prevent and respond to mass atrocities or genocide.

In answering these questions, the interagency review shall consider the recommendations of relevant bipartisan and expert studies, including the recommendations of the bipartisan Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretaries Madeleine K. Albright and William Cohen.

I direct the National Security Advisor, through the National Security Staff’s Director for War Crimes and Atrocities, to oversee and direct the interagency review, which shall include representatives from the following:

Office of the Vice President
Department of State
Department of the Treasury
Department of Defense
Department of Justice
Department of Homeland Security
United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Central Intelligence Agency
United States Agency for International Development
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Peace Corps
National Security Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency

Executive departments and agencies shall be responsive to all requests from the National Security Advisor-led interagency review committee for information, analysis, and assistance.

The interagency review shall be completed within 100 days, so that the Atrocities Prevention Board can commence its work within 120 days from the date of this Presidential Study Directive.



Remarks by Ambassador Rice at the Security Council Stakeout on the Humanitarian Situation in the Horn of Africa

Ambassador Rice: Good morning. While the issue in the Council today has been climate change, I’ve made a statement in that regard already and I wanted to say a few words about the UN’s declaration of famine in parts of Somalia today. It goes without saying that the situation is grave, over 11 million lives at risk, and in need of assistance. This is indeed a crisis situation, and one that has been exacerbated quite directly by the refusal of al-Shabaab to allow critically needed humanitarian assistance to reach over 60 percent of the people who need it most, over the course of the last year and more. The United States has been and remains the largest donor of bilateral humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa, contributing this year alone already $459 million, including an additional $28 million that Secretary Clinton just announced today. We will continue to focus on this issue and to provide the support that we can, but clearly this is a global challenge, and it is one that requires the concerted effort and support of the wide range of donors that are in a position to assist. We will be supportive of the United Nations as its agencies and funds and programs do the essential work of providing for and supporting those most in need. Thank you.

Reporter: Ambassador Rice, will any of the money that the United States has pledged to fighting the drought go to Somalia?

Ambassador Rice: Yes.

Reporter: Mark Bowden, the humanitarian coordinator of the UN, just gave a press conference and he said that the U.S., two years ago, was the number one donor to Somalia and has now fallen to seventh or eighth—pretty much tied to anti-terrorism restrictions on where the funds can go. I know you gave the Horn of Africa number but is he correct about this?

Ambassador Rice: I can’t tell you if he’s correct. I can tell you that the United States remains the largest bilateral donor to the crisis in the Horn and the epicenter of the crisis in the Horn is, of course, Somalia. We have provided support and will continue to provide support to the refugees that have reached Ethiopia and Kenya among others, but our support has gone to Somalia as well and will continue to do so. The challenge has been access for the humanitarian agencies, particularly in the south and the central region, and it’s been blocked deliberately as a matter of policy by al-Shabaab. And al-Shabaab is principally responsible for exacerbating the consequences of the drought situation by preventing its own people from being able to access critically needed assistance.

Reporter: But they’ve lifted the restrictions?

Ambassador Rice: They say they’ve lifted the restrictions, after two years of starving their own people. We’ll see if those restrictions are in fact, as a practical matter, lifted on the ground. Neither the United States nor others in the international community are prepared to pay bribes or taxes to al-Shabaab, while it starves its own people.

Reporter: How will the U.S. transmit its aid? Is it through the UN and other groups?
Ambassador Rice: We typically provide our assistance through a variety of non-governmental organizations, and international organizations including UN agencies. UNICEF is among those that have been consistently active in that area, including within Somalia—it is one of the major recipients and, of course, WFP and others, UNHCR in the camps, and, of course, a range of NGOs.

Reporter: To clarify, will the aid get into the areas are being held by al-Shabaab? Will the United States send aid to those areas which arguably need it the most?

Ambassador: The issue—this is not complicated—aid will go where the humanitarian workers can gain access. The reason the aid hasn’t gone in sufficient quantities into south and central Somalia, is because al-Shabaab has prevented those most capable of delivering large quantities of aid from having access. And when they have had access they’ve taxed them, harassed them, killed them, kidnapped them—so that’s the problem. The question is whether al-Shabaab will finally, in the face of a massive famine, and the worst disaster in the region in, perhaps, 60 years, allow its people to access the critical humanitarian resources and food that they need. Thank you very, very much.


Secretary Clinton on World Refugee Day

On this World Refugee Day, we pause to reflect on how far we have come over the last 60 years since the world’s first convention on refugees, and recommit ourselves to saving more refugees and survivors of conflict and persecution. Around the world, there are still over 15 million refugees who have been uprooted from their homes and forced to live in difficult and in many cases unacceptable conditions. As events in Syria, Libya, and Cote d’Ivoire evolve, we are reminded that refugee protection presents new and ongoing challenges that we must continually strive to meet.

The United States has a history of upholding human rights and humanitarian principles. For decades we have led the world in overseas support for humanitarian protection and assistance, and we have provided asylum and refugee resettlement for millions. In doing so, we show through example our dedication to basic human decency, to our responsibilities under international law, and – along with the rest of the international community – to ensuring refuge when innocent lives hang in the balance. We do this because our country’s values must be a critical component of our foreign policy.

On this World Refugee Day, the United States and the Obama Administration reaffirms these core values as we work to provide a safe haven to the world’s most vulnerable citizens – refugees.


Statement by the President on World Refugee Day

As we mark World Refugee Day, I join with people around the globe in highlighting the plight of the 15 million refugees in the world today, and we reaffirm our commitment to support them as they seek a safe place to call home again. In particular, we honor the courage of those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, including men, women and children in Libya, Syria, Cote d’Ivoire who remind us that somewhere in the world, refugees are forced to flee their homes virtually every day.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees – a landmark achievement of international law that sets forth certain rights of refugees and legal obligations of States relating to refugees. Hundreds of thousands – and probably millions – of people around the world are alive today thanks to the help and protection they received from the international community when they were forced to flee their countries to escape violence, oppression, abuse, and other forms of persecution.

This year is also the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. In at least 30 countries, nationality laws discriminate against women and limit their ability to acquire and transmit citizenship to their children or spouses, which can lead to statelessness. The United States will continue to work to empower women and girls and ensure opportunities for displaced and stateless women throughout the world.

Our values and our interests dictate that the protection of the most vulnerable is a critical component of our foreign policy. We have a moral imperative to save lives. We also have interest in sustaining U.S. leadership, which enables us to drive the development of international humanitarian principles, programs, and policies like no other government in the world. Such efforts promote reconciliation, security, and well-being in circumstances where despair and misery threaten stability and critical U.S. national security interests.


African Refugee Map

On the occasion of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “World Refugee Day”, June 20, this map was created by the Department of State’s Humanitarian Information Unit. The map illustrates the country of origin, and the destination country, for all current refugee populations in Sub-Saharan Africa greater than 1,000 persons in magnitude. Click the image below for a full-sized example:

Africa Refugee Map. Created by the Department of State’s Humanitarian Information Unit. http://hiu.state.gov/

Africa Refugee Map. Created by the Department of State’s Humanitarian Information Unit. http://hiu.state.gov/


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