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Women's Refugee Commission Concerned at Deep Cuts to Humanitarian Assistance

The Women’s Refugee Commission is deeply concerned that the fiscal year 2011 funding bill passed by the House of Representatives on February 19 contains cuts to humanitarian assistance programs that would severely compromise the safety and well-being of many women and children displaced by conflict and natural disasters.

Under the bill passed by the House, funding for refugee programs would be cut by more than 40 percent and international disaster assistance by more than 50 percent.

“These are devastating cuts that cannot be justified either from a humanitarian perspective or as sound national policy,” said Sarah Costa, executive director of the Women’s Refugee Commission. “They will put displaced women and children at even greater risk of violence and exploitation. Young refugees will find it even more difficult to get an education or learn a skill. And the U.S. will lose important opportunities to enhance stability and economic growth in troubled regions.”

The United States has traditionally provided strong bipartisan support for humanitarian programs. Our leadership has been a source of pride to many Americans and essential to the delivery of life-saving services to the most vulnerable—the vast majority of whom are women and children.

The Women’s Refugee Commission calls on the Congress to restore funding for humanitarian assistance to at least 2010 levels as the legislative process moves forward.

This is consistent with our values as a people and our position in the world. Millions of women and children in desperate circumstances are depending on our continued leadership.