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U.S. Helsinki Commission to Hold Hearing on the Iraqi Refugee Crisis

WASHINGTON – Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), will hold a hearing entitled “OSCE Partner States and Neighbors Overwhelmed by Iraqi Refugees: Band-aid Solutions to Implosion in the Middle East?”

U.S. Helsinki Commission to Hold Hearing on the Iraqi Refugee Crisis

Thursday, April 10, 2008 2

2:30 p.m. 

Room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.

The hearing will focus on the impact of the massive displacement of Iraqi citizens on Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Turkey as well as other countries in the region; the security implications of this humanitarian crisis; and efforts by the United States and others to address the plight of Iraqi refugees, including humanitarian relief, resettlement of Iraqi refugees, host country commitments, European cooperation as well as a long-term plan to address this crisis. The hearing comes on the heels of General David Petraeus’ and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker’s testimony before Congress about the Iraq war.

Chairman Hastings, who is Special Representative on Mediterranean Affairs for the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, has introduced comprehensive legislation to address this humanitarian and security crisis. In January, Chairman Hastings and Congressman John Dingell wrote to President Bush requesting an additional $1.5 billion in funding for assistance to Iraqi refugees in the FY 2009 budget. They also wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in February, calling on her to develop a long-term plan to address the plight of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced populations (IDPs).

Testifying before the Commission will be:

Panel I –
Ambassador James Foley, Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugees, U.S. Department of State

Ms. Lori Scialabba, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security for Iraqi Refugees, Department of Homeland Security

Panel II –
Mr. Michel Gabaudan, Washington Director, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Mr. Anders Lago, Mayor of Sodertalje, Sweden – The city of Sodertalje has a population of 83, 000 and has taken in more than 5,000 Iraqi refugees.

Mr. Noel Saleh, Member, Board of Directors, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) – Created in 1971 by a group of volunteers in Dearborn, Michigan, ACCESS assists the Arab immigrant population adapt to life in America and has been integral in assisting Iraqi refugees who have resettled in the United States.

 

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