234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Neil Simon
December 8, 2009


Event to include policy brief from Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) will host a special event:

Still Waiting, Still Suffering
A dance performance and discussion about the situation of Iraqi refugees

Tuesday, Dec. 8
4 - 5:30 p.m.
Capitol Visitor Center - Main Auditorium

In what is the largest displacement crisis in the Middle East since 1948, approximately two million Iraqis remain displaced in neighboring countries, primarily Syria and Jordan. These refugees are struggling to survive on limited savings, and their status is extremely precarious. According to Refugees International, despite some improvement in security in Iraq, refugees still fear sectarian violence against them and their families and are reluctant to return home. The large number and poor conditions of these refugees also are potentially destabilizing to host countries, which cannot provide adequate education or employment opportunities.

CityDance Ensemble will present an original work based on its experiences with Iraqi refugee communities in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and a representative from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will speak about the refugee situation.

Participants will include:
• Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman
• Representative Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Co-Chairman
• Dr. Michel Gabaudan, UNHCR Representative for the United States and the Caribbean
• Paul Gordon Emerson, CityDance Ensemble Artistic Director & Co-Founder, and members of the Company

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.




Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons


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Chairman Chris Smith speaks at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. (July 2015)