US Acknowledges Role of NGOs in Refugee Crises

Ineke Mules for AL JAZEERA

The United States has highlighted the role of NGOs in maintaining refugee camps and assisting with resettlement programmes.

The comments came during the opening meeting of the United Nations Refugee Agency concerning the security of stateless people.

The conversation is timely owing to current events in the Middle East, with up to 70,000 Syrian refugees entering Turkey since last Friday, fleeing violence propagated by Islamic State jihadists in north-eastern Syria.

Major NGOs such as Amnesty International and Médicins Sans Frontières were acknowledged for their ongoing work, with the US delegate calling on other states to do their utmost to fund and support these organisations.

The US also took the opportunity during a moderated caucus to condemn Venezuela’s expulsion of international NGO Human Rights Watch.

Venezuela responded by pointing out the hypocrisy of the US delegate’s comments and accused the majority of NGOs of being “intrinsically linked to Western influence.”

The Venezuelan government expelled a Human Rights Watch director in September 2008 following the publication of a report revealing systematic human, civil and political rights violations under late President Hugo Chávez.

In a rare occurrence of solidarity with the US, Russia agreed with the significant role of NGOs, especially when it comes to assisting in large-scale crises.

However the Russian delegate also echoed Venezuela’s sentiments of being wary of “foreign” NGOs, stressing that it was within a state’s own discretion to decide which NGO’s are “viable” in the region.


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