CARE Response to President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees

CARE Response to President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees

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NEW YORK—(September 20, 2016)-- CARE welcomes the commitments set forth by countries attending President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees.

The 30 percent increase in humanitarian aid, the doubling of permanent resettlement, and the pledges to expand access to education, work and health services will help refugees in protracted crises live more self-reliant and dignified lives.

However, while these commitments are significant, they still only address a portion of the challenges facing the world’s 21.3 million refugees. Most critically, they do not address the root causes that continue to drive displacement around the world.

While the Summit was taking place in New York, the fragile ceasefire in Syria was collapsing, which means more Syrians will be displaced and more innocent lives will be lost. Until action is taken to reach political solutions for ending conflicts sooner, the number of displaced people will continue to rise.

Governments must also be held accountable to fulfilling these commitments quickly. Millions of lives are on the line.

CARE calls on governments to prioritize women and girls in their fulfillment of these commitments. Just prior to the Summit, CARE convened an event between diplomats and women refugee activists, where they called on world leaders to open up safe and legal routes for women fleeing violence and persecution, so they are not forced to put their lives into the hands of people smugglers. They demanded a role in implementing and monitoring the Summit commitments.

In the words of Mina Jaf, a Kurdish refugee activist: “See us not just as victims or passive beneficiaries, we have a lot to contribute and we want to be part of the solution to this crisis.”

We are pleased to learn that a follow-up to President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees will take place next year. This will provide an important opportunity to take stock of how the 52 world leaders and international representatives at today’s summit have lived up to their commitments.

But unless we also take measures to tackle the drivers of this massive global displacement, world leaders will only continue to convene at these annual summits addressing the symptoms and not the solution.

Click here to learn more on CARE’s Global Refugee Response.


Media contact: Holly Frew    +1.770.842.6188

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit


Credit:  Mary Kate MacIsaac/CARE