Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of State’s Bureau of Populations, Refugees, and Migration Nancy Jackson’s Remarks at the Ecuadorian National Assembly to Commemorate World Refugee Day.
Thank you National Assembly President Cabezas, UNHCR Country Representative Martin, distinguished guests.
Good morning. This is my second visit to this beautiful country. It is a pleasure and privilege to participate in this event commemorating World Refugee Day.
I am especially pleased to be here in Ecuador on World Refugee Day, because I know that Ecuador has been a generous host for many years, welcoming over 60 thousand refugees and asylum seekers.
On this day, the United States recognizes the plight of all those forced by persecution and war to flee their homes.
Today, over 68 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes – more than at any time since the end of the Second World War. Given the historic scale of the global displacement crisis, it is more important than ever for the international community to keep looking for ways to respond in an effective, efficient, and comprehensive way.
The United States is proud to be the single largest provider of humanitarian assistance worldwide, with U.S. humanitarian assistance totaling more than $8 billion in 2017. Our assistance provides urgent, life-saving services, including, food, shelter, healthcare, and access to clean water for millions of refugees around the world.
We work with humanitarian organizations, such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food Program, and a number of other international and non-governmental organizations that are delivering life-saving aid to millions of people in need.
Here in Ecuador specifically, we are proud to support the work of international and non-governmental organizations who are helping Colombian refugees and asylum seekers, as well as other people in need.
Last year, we provided $5.3 million to NGOs working to assist Colombian refugees in Ecuador. In addition, thus far in 2018 we have provided nearly $4 million to UNHCR to assist Colombians in the region, including in Ecuador.
Our hemisphere is now facing a new and unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Some 2 million Venezuelans have fled their country, a number of whom have international protection concerns. And that number is growing.
All countries in the region are feeling an impact, and many, like Ecuador, are responding by hosting thousands of Venezuelans in need of protection, shelter, food, medical assistance, and employment.
The United States is standing with countries in the region by providing urgently needed aid. . Since 2017, the United States has provided $21 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance. This funding is helping provide shelter for the most vulnerable, safe drinking water and hygiene supplies, protection from violence and exploitation, and work and education opportunities. We are working in coordination with other humanitarian organizations and relevant government authorities.
As we commemorate World Refugee Day, we applaud the generosity and compassion of countries throughout the hemisphere, including Ecuador, who are hosting refugees and asylum seekers, recognizing that these individuals can often make significant and positive contributions to our societies.
As U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said in his statement today in honor of World Refugee Day: “As global displacement has reached record levels, it is vital that new actors – including governments, international financial institutions, and the private sector – come to the table to assist in the global response to address it. The United States will continue to be a world leader in providing humanitarian assistance and working to forge political solutions to the underlying conflicts that drive displacement. “