A call to re-commit to American humanitarian values on behalf of refugees

January 30, 2017
Photo by Dalia Khamissy

After decades of working with refugees and people affected by conflict, Concern knows that becoming a refugee is not a choice — it’s a last resort. That’s why we ask our elected officials and fellow citizens to remember our defining American values and welcome refugees from all countries — most urgently from countries where their lives are imminently at risk.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ed Kenney, Vice President of Communications

[email protected] / 212.557.8000; 914.414.7686

Concern Worldwide U.S. CEO Jack Haire has issued a statement in response to the executive order affecting refugees issued on Friday, January 27th:

“The executive action puts a significant number of extremely vulnerable individuals fleeing conflict and persecution at risk and will put additional pressure on an already stressed humanitarian response. Becoming a refugee is a last resort. We know from working with refugees and people affected by conflict for decades that they do not want to leave their deep roots behind for an uncertain future. Home is home. They have seen and experienced extreme violence and chaos, and have been through intensive, often years-long vetting processes in an effort to reach the U.S., a country founded on welcoming the tired, the poor, the huddled masses and the homeless. All of these individuals, all of these families, have been through enough.

“At a time when the world is facing its largest crisis of displaced people since World War II, are we really prepared to turn them away? Americans, at our best, are humanitarians — let’s honor that.”

“We ask our elected officials and fellow citizens to remember that we are all obligated by our defining American values to welcome refugees from all countries, most urgently from countries where their lives are imminently at risk. This includes every country — Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Iran — currently identified in the executive order. Of these, Concern Worldwide is working to protect lives, improve lives, and meet the basic survival needs of thousands of people in Sudan, Somalia, and Syria — and with refugee communities in Lebanon and Turkey. We are also compelled by our Irish heritage and nearly 50 years of working with refugees and people affected by conflict across the world, to stand with them. We are all immigrants.

“At a time when the world is facing its largest crisis of displaced people since World War II, with more than 65 million people forced to flee their homes — more than half of them children — now is not the time to retreat. 77 percent of the Syrian refugees in the US are women and children under 12. Are we really prepared to turn them away? Americans, at our best, are humanitarians — let’s honor that.”

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About Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide U.S. is an affiliate of Concern Worldwide, a non-governmental, international humanitarian aid organization dedicated to reducing suffering and working toward the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty. With more than 3,000 highly skilled and committed staff, Concern has an on-the-ground presence in 24 of the world’s poorest countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Together, with those communities, Concern saves lives every day through emergency response programs and longer-term solutions including health and nutrition, climate resilience and disaster risk reduction, as well as primary education, water and sanitation, and livelihoods support.

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Learn more about the challenges that Syrian refugee women face.