On April 6, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered remarks at an event to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Refugee Convention. In her remarks, Secretary Clinton named four people of courage honored by the State Department and described their heroic acts. Below are the stories of two courageous people:
1. Captain Mbaye Diagne was a Senegalese army officer deployed to Rwanda as a U.N. military observer. Though peacekeepers were ordered not to protect civilians, Captain Diagne took people out of harm’s way and ultimately saved 600 lives. Unfortunately, this brave man was killed by a stray mortar shell.
2. When the killings in Rwanda began, Josephine Dusabimana took in and hid terrified people who showed up at her door. She helped them escape to Congo, ultimately saving five people. Later, she took in a mother and her child. Unfortunately, soldiers burst into her house and killed them. Despite witnessing this horrific event, Josephine continued to rescue others.
Secretary Clinton noted that while each of these courageous people were born in a different time and at a different place, they had one thing in common: “They did not view people in trouble as strangers, as the other; they viewed them as fellow human beings, and they were unable to stand by and let brutality and violence and atrocities unfold.”
According to Secretary Clinton, we are still committed to the protection of refugees around the world and we intend to save lives and restore human dignity. However, we require “individuals who, day after day, stand up and speak out and, more importantly, act on behalf of those who are in jeopardy.”
LIRS supports the United States in its commitment to protect refugees around the world and in our country. But drastic cuts to programs that provide humanitarian assistance overseas and services that help refugees in the United States heal, rebuild and eventually thrive in American communities will impede our ability to save lives and restore human dignity.
Please “stand up and speak out” and “act on behalf of those who are in jeopardy” by writing your members of Congress and urging them to not cut funding for overseas and domestic refugee assistance. In addition, you can contact your two Senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Say, “I am a constituent and I care about the refugees in my community. Please do not cut funding for overseas or domestic refugee assistance.” Speak about the importance of a robust welcome and the contributions that newcomers make to our communities.