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Hopkins On Internally Displaced People


Syrian refugees leave their tents after heavy rain, Al-Zaatari refugee camp, Mafraq, Jordan, Jan. 8, 2013.

“Latest estimates are 80,000 dead, 4.25 million displaced inside Syria, and 1.5 million refugees.”

“In Syria today, we see millions displaced because they are fleeing fighting between the regime and the opposition,” U.S. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Elizabeth Hopkins said at the release of Norwegian Refugee Council’s ‘Global IDP Overview 2012’ report in Washington, DC.


“Latest estimates are 80,000 dead, 4.25 million displaced inside Syria, and 1.5 million refugees,” Ms. Hopkins said. “The government is not only failing to help internally displaced persons, it is slaughtering them . . . International organizations are trying to reach everyone in need, but gaining access to them is very challenging and, at times, impossible . . . The United States supports efforts to get across borders and into Syria, but this too is very difficult to do, and more is needed.”

United Nations’ High Commission on Refugees has an essential role to play in the protection, emergency shelter, and camp coordination and management of displaced persons.

A substantial portion of the $1.1 billion that UNHCR has spent on Internally Displaced Persons field operations in the past three years has come from the U.S. Government.”
“We have heard sobering news today that the global number of Internally Displaced Persons is larger than ever before, and that 6.5 million persons became newly displaced in their home countries last year. This underscores the point that UNHCR’s responsibilities continue to grow,” Ms. Hopkins said.

“UNHCR possesses a set of commitments to Internally Displaced Persons, and these commitments should not be a lower priority for the agency relative to its other populations of concern – refugees, returnees, and stateless persons,” Ms. Hopkins continued. “A substantial portion of the $1.1 billion that UNHCR has spent on Internally Displaced Persons field operations in the past three years has come from the U.S. Government.”

“Humanitarian budgets are tight,” Ms. Hopkins said in conclusion. “The Syria emergency in particular is stretching resources beyond anything we have ever seen before. The international community has to make sure that assistance and protection for Internally Displaced Persons around the world does not fall backward. We need to continue to strengthen the system of response. The well-being of millions of Internal Displaced Persons depends in part on United Nations’ High Commission of Refugees living up to these responsibilities.”
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