Friday, August 1, 2014


Compiled by Dick Bennett for a World Culture of Peace and Justice.

What’s at stake:  It is essential to identify the most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons and to work for the adoption of effective human rights, humanitarian, and rescue policies.    Thus we must hold nations and officials accountable for meeting the needs of people displaced by human conflict and natural disasters.   A comprehensive immigration reform bill now before the Senate includes unprecedented protections for stateless people in the United States.  Help OMNI pursue these goals; call 935-4422.

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See:Arab Spring, Central American Children,  Displaced Persons, Hurricanes/Typhoons,  Indigenous People Genocide, Islands (Rising Seas), Jewish Holocaust WWII, Korea, Rising Seas, Syria, Tibet, Vietnam, Warming, Wars

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Contents Refugees/Displaced Newsletter #1, August 1, 2014
Central American Children Seeking Asylum 2014
Dick, Protect the Children
Michelle Goldberg, US Refugee Crisis
United Nations and Other International Organizations
Refugees International
Center for Study of Climate Displacement
International Holocaust Remembrance and Combat Genocide
New Books on Education for Refugees
Buck and Silver, Educated for Change?  Muslim Refugee Women in the West.  2012.
Brown and Krasteva, Migrants and Refugees:  Equitable Education for Displaced Populations.   2013.

Contact Your Senators at end.


Dear Editor:
     On July 27, 2014, two columnists and the subject of your editorial advocated a policy of care and love for the children fleeing life-threatening dangers in Central American countries.   Regular columnist Doug Thompson writes:  “Stop thinking about the kids coming this way as an immigration issue.  Start thinking of it as a child protection issue.”   “The lack of a decent life is what those kids are fleeing.”   Columnist Rev. Lowell Grisham asks what a Christian should do for these children, and replies:  “we are to love them!”  And the children come to us legally.   Rev. Ronnie Floyd, according to the editorial, went to the border to see for himself, and returned calling “on Christians to help comfort and care for the children.”
     They suggest various methods.  Thompson urges us to be informed, citing the March 2014 report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and to patronize businesses that share their profits with Central Americans.    Rev. Floyd urges a “spiritual awakening among those able to help and prayer for government leaders so they’ll make the right decisions,” adding:  “the first obligation we have to each other is compassion and love,” to which the editorialist agreed:  “it’s hard to argue with that.”  Rev. Grisham reminds us that most of the children have relatives in the U.S. and should be reunited with them under the supervision of the Department of Health and Human Services.  The remaining 15% should be welcomed by our communities.  Already some churches and towns are starting to do this. (Money raised by the OMNI Center at a rally on July 21 was sent to a welcoming border church at McAllen, TX.)    Like Rev. Floyd, Grasham concludes, “You simply love them.”
      In this spirit of compassion, with these methods of practical assistance, the citizens of Arkansas can help children “fleeing exploitation and violence.”

Yes, Mr. President, the Border Kids Are Refugees
The 52,000 unaccompanied children who have shown up at the border are fleeing gang violence and have valid claims to asylum.  [Goldberg suggests these remedies: Treat this as a refugee crisis (asylum applications increased 712% between 2008 and 2013), provide safety for the kids, and work with the UN to improve processing of the applications in their home countries.  –Dick]
Michelle Goldberg July 16, 2014.    This article appeared in the August 4-11, 2014 edition of The Nation.  [The title in my copy is “Our Refugee Crisis.”  --Dick].

Migrant Children
Immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the US-Mexico border are stopped in Granjero, Texas. June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Eric Gray)
In July, in Murrieta, California, right-wing demonstrators confronted busloads of people, many of them women and small children who had crossed the border fleeing horrific violence. “Nobody wants you! You’re not welcome! Go home!” they shouted. According to the Los Angeles Times, the migrants were on their way to a supervised release program overseen by a religious volunteer group. Instead, blocked by the protesters, they had to return to a border patrol station in San Diego.
The gratuitous cruelty of the American right, of course, isn’t much of a surprise. More shocking is the response of the Obama administration, which is scarcely more hospitable. As the United Nations and others have said, the situation on the border, where 52,000 unaccompanied children have arrived from Mexico and Central America since October, is more a refugee crisis than an immigration one. But rather than acknowledge this, the White House has suggested that it wants to strip some of these children of rights they have under the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, a 2008 law signed by George W. Bush. According toThe New York Times, Obama is considering seeking “flexibility” in the law’s requirements, which gives lone child migrants from countries other than Mexico and Canada the right to an immigration hearing and, in the interim, release into the “least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child.”
Even with the law in place, we’re seeing flagrant abuses of border kids’ rights. At some stations, children in diapers have been held in jail cells. “It was horrible,” says Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, who recently visited a facility in Brownsville, Texas. “There were hundreds of kids, little kids. I saw a 3-year-old—at least they said he was 3. I don’t think the kid was that old.” He was being cared for by a rotating group of preteen girl detainees, Lofgren says. “There are 8- and 9-year-old kids sleeping on cement floors with aluminum foil blankets.”
After she and some of her colleagues complained to the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell promised to have all children under 5 removed from jail. That is good news, though it is not the sort of thing that should require congressional action.
Meanwhile, the administration must acknowledge that many of the children—who largely hail from gang-ridden Honduras, the country with the world’s highest murder rate, and neighboring El Salvador andGuatemala—have valid claims to asylum. “The UN said that in their judgment, we should call this a refugee matter, and I think they’re right,” says Lofgren. Indeed, she argues, calling the underlying problem gang warfare minimizes it: “These are armed warlords competing for governance of the countries.”
In recent years, violence has surged in the region, in no small part because of American policies. “The United States has chosen to fight a ‘war on drugs,’ which has consisted of trying to break apart large cartels,” says Elizabeth Kennedy, a Fulbright fellow in El Salvador who works with child migrants. “There’s evidence that in breaking apart the cartels, you actually increase the violence for people living in those communities.” With the demand for drugs still ravenous, smaller groups emerge to fill that demand, warring with each other and setting up in new countries. “When we fought the war on drugs in Colombia, the cartels moved into Mexico with greater force, and crop growth moved into Ecuador and Peru,” Kennedy says. “And now we’re seeing that they’re moving to the Caribbean and Central America.” In Honduras, the problem has been exacerbated by the 2009 right-wing military coup, which, as the International Crisis Group writes in a recent report, “weakened already fragile institutions of law enforcement and justice.”
In countries where the cartels are most active, children reaching adolescence face a choice between gang membership and death. Kennedy recently wrote a report for the Immigration Policy Center, “No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children Are Fleeing Their Homes,” which notes that 59 percent of Salvadoran boys and 61 percent of Salvadoran girls list crime or violence as a reason they decided to make the perilous trip north. Lofgren met a grandmother from Honduras who’d fled with three adolescent girls after a gang leader threatened to seize them. “She probably saved their lives,” says Lofgren.
Despite the right’s canard that kids are fleeing to the United States because they think Obama has promised them amnesty, Kennedy says that only one of the more than 400 kids she has interviewed knew anything about the Dream Act or the president’s 2012 executive order halting deportation of some young immigrants. Indeed, people from the most violence-wracked states are also fleeing to neighboring countries, belying attempts to blame Obama for their migration. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), between 2008 and 2013 there was a 712 percent increase in the number of asylum applications from citizens of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador seeking refuge in Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Belize.
Greater border enforcement is not going to stop desperate parents from trying to get their kids out of imminent danger. Migrants know they’re likely to be deported, and many reach the United States only after multiple failed attempts. “Many children say, ‘It’s a sure death if I stay, and it’s a possible death if I go,’” says Kennedy.
Treating this as a refugee crisis does not mean simply opening the borders, which could empower the smuggling rings that profit by bringing children to the United States. It means providing safety for the kids who are already here and working with the UN to create centers in their home countries where those whose lives are in danger can apply for asylum in the United States or other nations. “To me, it’s recognizing reality,” Lofgren says. “You can say it’s not a refugee crisis, but it is, and we have tools in our toolbox, including UNHCR, to deal with a refugee crisis.”
Read Next: Steven Hsieh on detention centers for underage migrants
Michelle Goldberg July 16, 2014      This article appeared in the August 4-11, 2014 edition of The Nation.  [“The Refugee Crisis.”]

South Sudan
South Sudan

UNHCR protects vulnerable as South Sudan airlift helps thousands of displaced


News Story: Iranian charity provides medical care to refugee children.
News Story: Amid the violence in Colombia, an indigenous people struggle for their identity.
News Story: UNHCR appeals for dialogue following IDP violence in Myanmar.
Innovation: Briquette-making project helps protect women in Ugandan camp.
The Most Important Thing:What would you take if you had to flee home at a moment's notice?
Global Report 2012: This year's theme is "Finding Safety, Hospitality and Hope."
Infographic: Ten million in need. That's greater than London and Dubai combined.
Global Appeal 2013 Update:The Appeal presents the financial resources UNHCR will need in 2013.
Worldwide Community of Resettled Refugees: Learn about a project by UNHCR and the University of Geneva.
My Life As A Refugee: On UNHCR's app, wrestle with the dilemmas facing millions of refugees.
Multimedia: Refugees from around the world tell their own stories.
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A joint UNHCR-NGO team evaluates the emergency operation for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and northern Iraq.
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Climate Displacement

The Bacon Center for the Study of Climate Displacement was established at Refugees International in August 2009 thanks to a generous financial contribution made by Ken & Darcy Bacon just before Mr. Bacon’s death. The Center works to enhance understanding of the complex relationship between environmental degradation, natural disasters, climate change, and displacement, and to address the shortcomings in related legal, policy, and institutional frameworks.  In assisting populations experiencing or at risk of climate-induced displacement, we have found that vulnerability to climate change is a function of a country’s exposure to natural hazards such as floods, storms and droughts as well as underlying factors such as poverty, social injustice and weak government capacity to respond.  Thus, most at risk are not only the world’s poorest countries – such as Haiti and Bangladesh – but also its most conflict prone including Afghanistan, Burma, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.  Advocating for a more effective response to climate displacement is linked to other priority issues for RI, including strengthening the humanitarian response to natural disasters and UN peacekeeping efforts, improving the global response to neglected crises and internal displacement, and achieving citizenship for stateless people.
Today, more and more people are being forced from their homes by weather-related disasters, environmental degradation and changing climactic conditions. Over the past several decades, natural disasters have increased in force and frequency and are responsible for displacing over 36 million people in 2008 alone. In addition, growing water scarcity, desertification, and decreased agricultural output are causing more people to migrate to support livelihoods.  Access to scarce natural resources has the potential to exacerbate conflict.  The war in Darfur, for example, resulted partly from conflict over arable land that has diminished as the desert expands.  In the future, climate change will increasingly harm some of the world’s most vulnerable populations through greater weather variability, water scarcity, and severe environmental degradation. 
The most dramatic impacts of climate-induced displacement, such as the complete submersion of island states like the Maldives, are many decades in the future.  But today, increased displacement due to more frequent large-scale natural disasters is challenging an already stressed international humanitarian system.  As recent floods in Pakistan and Colombia have showed, the current system is ill-prepared to effectively respond.
·         Burma in the Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis 05/22/2008


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International Holocaust Remembrance & Combat Genocide

Combat Genocide Association  2012?

Dear friend,
We at Combat Genocide are pleased to commemorate with all of humanity the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Today we mark 68 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, also known in Hebrew as “planet Auschwitz”, one of the most horrific worlds ever created by man.
As members of the Combat Genocide Association a Jewish yet universal organization, we have dedicated the past seven years to educating and teaching thousands of teens and adults around Israel about the moral lessons of the Holocaust. As members of the Jewish people against whom the darkest and most systematic plot of destruction was conspired, and as human beings concerned about the moral reality of our time, we see it as our obligation to work as much as we can to stop genocide and other acts of violence around the world.
Unfortunately, the majority of the Israeli public knows little about the genocides that have occurred before and after the Holocaust. The Jewish spirit weakens due to the lack of interest in the cruel fate of other nations. The result of this is seen in the attitude of Israel towards refugees from the genocide in Sudan. We must arrange these by law and determine the number of asylum seekers to be absorbed every year, in order to maintain the Jewish, Zionist and democratic identity of our state, and to determine the rights of and obligations towards these refugees. "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Lev. 19: 33-34). 
We have labored over three years formulating the "Bill of Treatment and Responsibility for Asylum Seekers and Refugees". We hope our new government will pass this bill. We also hope that it will officially recognize the Armenian genocide. We look forward to any assistance you could give us in these efforts.
We are very concerned about the torture camps in the Sinai where Ethiopian, Eritrean, Sudanese, and other immigrants and refugees, are kidnapped. During their kidnapping they suffer abuse, which includes beating, electrocution, severing of body parts and possibly harvesting of body organs. During these horrendous events in the last two years, approximately 4000 human beings have been slaughtered.
We acted against it in several ways:
1.      We have approached The Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the leaders of the Egyptian Intelligence in a request to bring down the torture camps )attached please find our letter. (
2.      We have requested and received custody of four Christian Ethiopian girls survivors of torture camps, and who were held at the detention center.
3.      We have given lectures to thousands college students, thousands high school students and thousands of IDF soldiers on this subject.
 This coming March, 650 youth movement members are going on a journey to uncover the routes of the Zionist revolution, the Holocaust, and heroism in Poland. When visiting Warsaw we will commemorate 25 years of youth journeys to Poland and the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, led by members of the same youth movements that we are part of today. Unfortunately, hundreds of young people find it difficult to pay the cost of this journey and the resources of the State of Israel are not sufficient to subsidize everyone who would like to go. We encourage you to make a donation, or help us get in touch with donors or funds that are relevant. We have attached below a more detailed explanation of our journey.
We would also like to be in contact with organizations, researchers, activists and academics involved in the struggle against genocide, especially to bring to justice the Sudanese president who was indicted by the ICC for the crime of genocide.
Wishing you a good year, and a meaningful Memorial Day.
Uriel Levy
Director of the Combat Genocide Association, Israel
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Migrants and Refugees:
Equitable Education for Displaced Populations
Elinor L. Brown, University of Kentucky
Anna Krasteva, New Bulgarian University
A volume in the series International Advances in Education: Global Initiatives for Equity and Social Justice
2013. Paperback 9781623964665 $45.99. Hardcover 9781623964672 $85.99. eBook 9781623964689 $50
International Advances in Education: Global Initiatives for Equity and Social Justice is an international research monograph series of scholarly works that
primarily focus on empowering students (children, adolescents, and young adults) from diverse current circumstances and historic beliefs and traditions to become non-exploited/non-exploitive contributing members of the global community. The series draws on the research and innovative practices of investigators, academics, and community organizers around the globe that have contributed to the evidence base for developing sound educational policies, practices, and programs that optimize all students' potential. Each volume includes multidisciplinary theory, research, and practices that provide an enriched understanding of the drivers of human potential via education to assist others in exploring, adapting, and replicating innovative strategies that enable ALL students to realize their full potential. This volume provides the reader with promising policies and practices that promote social justice and educational opportunity for the many displaced populations (migrants, asylum-seekers, refugees, and immigrants) around the globe. The volume is divided into four sections that offer: (1) insights into the educational integration of displaced children in industrialized nations, (2) methods of creating pedagogies of harmony within school environments, (3) ways to nurture school success by acknowledging and respecting the cultural traditions of newcomers, and finally (4) strategies to forge pathways to educational equity. Overall, this volume contributes to the body of knowledge on equitable educational opportunities for displaced youth and will be a valuable resource for all who seek to enable the displaced a place at the political, economic, and social table of civil society.

Educated for Change?
Muslim Refugee Women in the West
Patricia Buck, Bates College and Matawi, Inc.
Rachel Silver, Matawi, Inc.
A volume in the series Education Policy in Practice: Critical Cultural Studies
2012. Paperback 978-1-61735-620-9 $45.99. Hardcover 978-1-61735-621-6 $85.99. eBook 978-1-61735-622-3 $50
Educated for Change?: Muslim Women in the West inserts Muslim women’s voice and action into the bifurcated, and otherwise male dominated, relations
between the West and the Islamic East. A multilayered, multisite, educational ethnography, Buck and Silver’s study takes a novel approach to its feminist
charge. Drawing upon thick description of refugee women’s school experiences in two seemingly distinct locations, Educated for Change? engages the dual nature of schooling as at once a disciplinary apparatus of local, national, and international governance, and paradoxically, a space and process through which school community members wield the power to observe, deliberate, and act as agents in the creative and willful endeavor of living. In doing so, the text  locates formal schooling as a key location at which one can witness the politics of cultural change that emerge when Western and Islamic communities converge.

Following an initial introduction to the ethno-historical formation and dissolution of the Somali postcolonial state resulting in a prolonged exodus of Somali citizens, the text is divided into two parts. Part One features an examination of young women’s approaches to schooling in the Dadaab refugee camps of northeastern Kenya; Part Two looks at schooling among Somali women resettled in a northern region of the United States. Each part includes a description of the unique, if interconnected, local factors and policies that give rise to particular forms and ends of schooling as designed for refugee women. Several chapters depict women’s strategic use of schooling to respond to structural forces, build intercultural social networks, and negotiate new ways of being Somali women.

Educated for Change? concludes with an analysis of the implications of Somali refugee women’s schooling experiences for working definitions of global social justice that undergird feminist political scholarship and gender-sensitive, humanitarian aid policy and practice.

Boozman, John - (R - AR)
Class III
320 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4843
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Pryor, Mark L. - (D - AR)
Class II
255 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2353


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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)