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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 3, 2008


State Department Makes Record Contribution to Refugees and Victims of Conflict in Fiscal Year 2008

Between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008, the Department of State contributed a record $1.44 billion to help refugees, conflict victims, stateless persons, and vulnerable migrants around the world. This money funds international organizations and non-governmental organizations working to improve the lives of these populations of concern.

Since the end of World War II, when Europe faced a flood of refugees and separated families, the United States has been strong advocate and generous donor on behalf of refugees and conflict victims. Some of the programs that the Department has supported in the last year are:

  • Assisting Iraqi refugee families in Jordan and Syria with school fees, uniforms and books.

  • Providing health care, nutritious food, clean water and sanitation to Burmese refugees living along the Thai-Burma border.

  • Providing materials and training for Darfur refugees to build and use fuel-efficient stoves.

  • Supplying prostheses and other support for disabled Palestinian refugee children.

  • Training teachers and police officers in Afghanistan to respond more effectively to sexual violence among returning Afghan refugees.

Most of the Department’s humanitarian aid goes to multilateral institutions, such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and the International Organization for Migration. This practice encourages other donors to give a “fair share” of contributions, and demonstrates our commitment to coordinated international humanitarian action. We provide flexible and predictable funding where it is most needed.

We also provide money to non-governmental organizations that provide essential assistance where there are gaps in the international response. For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the State Department funds the International Medical Corps to treat returning refugees who are suffering from serious psychological problems brought on by the horror of civil conflict.

Officials working in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) at the State Department closely monitor these contributions and evaluate projects to make sure that beneficiaries are cared for according to international standards. At American embassies in regions with large populations of concern, State Department refugee coordinators are responsible for day-to-day field-level monitoring of activities funded with American taxpayer dollars consistent with broader U.S. foreign policy objectives.

The following chart shows how funds provided for humanitarian assistance were distributed among different international and non-governmental organizations:

Intra US Govt/Other, 0.5; NGOs, 12.1; Other IOs, 5.8; IOM, 2.4; UNHCR, 43.0; UNRWA, 16.2; ICRC, 20.0

2008/830


Released on October 3, 2008

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