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Press Release

As UN announces new refugee figures, IRC says U.S. budget cuts could leave more than two million girls without access to education and double the number of people affected by famine to 60 million

Education, jobs and cash relief for refugees are key to managing the crisis

The IRC said today, new data from the UN indicating historic numbers of displaced people around the world underscores the cruelty of the U.S. Administration’s proposed cuts to foreign assistance.

“If this budget were to go through, America would not only be seen as responsible for widespread suffering, it would stand to lose its place as a global beacon of humanity and morality, as well as endangering global safety and security,” said IRC President and CEO David Miliband. “This is especially true in light of new figures which indicate more people than ever — 65.6 million — are displaced from their homes.”

The IRC and NGO partners have calculated the proposed cuts to U.S. aid could:

  • Double the global famine from 30 to 60 million, by drastically reducing food aid and food security assistance;
  • Condemn at least two million girls to a life without education;
  • Cut off basic, life-saving assistance to more than 11 million men, women and children affected by disaster and conflict —  including two million Syrians;
  • Fail to prevent about four million new cases of deadly diseases and 30,000 preventable maternal and child deaths;
  • Increase the likelihood of a deadly global pandemic capable of claiming more than two million American lives.

Solutions For Long-Term Displacement

As the global refugee displacement burden grows — with 10 million people running for their lives in 2016 alone — the clarion call for a concerted and long-term solution only grows louder for the international community.

According to the IRC, an increased emphasis on, and funding for, cash relief, education and jobs-oriented programming would make the modern refugee crisis more manageable. Refugees must be able to work and to make a decent living in their host countries. Cash relief should be one of the first means of humanitarian assistance, as it reduces the humanitarian burden and allows refugees to contribute to their local economies. Education for refugee children, whose future livelihoods depend on it, must be treated as a lifeline versus a luxury. And wealthy nations, which make up half of the global economy while hosting only nine percent of the world’s refugees, must provide more refugees with the opportunity for resettlement.

On World Refugee Day, the IRC and our partners are taking actions aimed at bringing hope and humanity to a world that is torn apart. Together, we are standing with refugees – and encouraging others to do so. Learn more here: www.rescue.org/worldrefugeeday ; follow @theIRC on social and join at #StandWithRefugees.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.