The State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, or PRM, helps refugees around the world receive critical humanitarian assistance, as well as finding long-term, sustainable settlement through repatriation to their home countries, local integration or resettlement in the United States.
Whether a victim of conflict; or of persecution on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity; or rendered stateless through conflict or political upheaval, a refugee is a person who has been forced from his or her home and crossed an international border for safety. To be considered a refugee, he or she must also have a well-founded fear of persecution in his or her native country, on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
The U.S. Department of State estimates that over 10 million people worldwide fall into one of these categories. Persecution, conflict and other critical events continue to uproot millions of people on every continent.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on World Refugee Day 2010 that "whenever possible, we work to return refugees to their homes in safety and dignity. But when returning home is not an option, we are committed to helping resettle refugees who face the most difficult circumstances."
The State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration is making an initial contribution of 125 million dollars to support the 2011 operations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, the organization mandated by the United Nations and its member states to protect, assist, and find durable solutions for refugees worldwide.
These funds will help refugees return to their homes, be it Afghanistan or the Democratic Republic of Congo. The money will facilitate local integration and resettlement, and protection and life-saving assistance for those who cannot return to their traditional homes. U.S. funding will support the provision of water, shelter, food, healthcare, and education to refugees, internally displaced persons, and other persons under UNHCR’s care and protection in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Colombia, Ecuador, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Sudan, Chad, Kenya, and Uganda.
The United States salutes the vital and courageous work of UNHCR, its many non-governmental organization partners, and refugee hosting countries in providing protection to vulnerable refugees around the world. We are proud to contribute to this effort.