Tuesday, May 24, 2011

World Refugee Day is Coming!

World Refugee Day is June 20, but in Denver we'll be celebrating on Friday, June 17. Join us for a day-long conference about refugees, or come for cultural fun in the evening and enjoy music, food, and dance. See you then!

Click on the image to enlarge.

To register for the free conference, click here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The illusion of peace and democracy

There is a compelling article about Burma and the Karen refugees in Thailand in today's edition of The Economist. Unsettling, indeed.

Here is an excerpt of the article :
Yet nobody who works in eastern Myanmar, where most of the refugees would have to go back to, believes that the conditions remotely exist for their safe return. Indeed, the region gives the lie to the notion that the country really is making ASEAN’s “steady progress” towards the sunny uplands of democracy and peace.

For a start, the low-level guerrilla war that has rumbled on between small groups of armed Karen and the Myanmar army has if anything got nastier since the election. The Thailand Burma Border Consortium, the main NGO looking after the refugees, estimates that conflict has made a further 70,000 people homeless in Kayin (formerly Karen) state in the past year, with 113 villages cleared. Often, the army orders villagers off their land to allow for mining, logging and other resource exploitation. In all, Burmese who have been internally displaced are reckoned to number over 500,000. In the past few weeks hundreds more have been fleeing over the border
To read more, visit the Website.

photo: corbis, The Economist

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bhutan explained in 5 minutes

During the past 18 months, Colorado has received an increasing number of Bhutanese refugees who are coming from camps in Nepal. If you're unfamiliar with what led to the ethnic Nepalese being forced to leave Bhutan, the PBS News Hour has a concise yet thorough explanation of the situation on its Website. The story and slideshow are five minutes long.

Photo: Don Duncan, PBS

About 100,000 refugees from Bhutan have been living in U.N.-run refugee camps in eastern Nepal since the early 1990s. Many of these ethnic Nepalese are in the process of being resettled in other countries, but a few hard-liners are looking to return to Bhutan -- even through force. Click here for the story and slideshow.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dear Abby

On Monday, May 2, 2011, Dear Abby featured a letter about how to be a helpful volunteer--especially young people and those looking for internships. It may have been written by someone you know. Just sayin'.


DEAR ABBY: I am a volunteer manager coordinating services between 200 students and tutors in an adult refugee English as a Second Language program. We benefit greatly from the skills and perspectives of young people, but the job requires volunteers to be self-directed and mature enough to handle the assignment. May I offer some advice to those who wish to volunteer for any program for class credit -- as an intern or during summer vacation?

Click here to read the entire column.