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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Protecting the Persecuted: The Successes and Challenges of Safeguarding Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Stateless Persons

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 10:00am
340 Cannon House Office Building


In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the current human rights concerns involving refugees and stateless and internally displaced persons.

Millions of people around the world have become internally displaced persons (IDPs) or refugees as a result of war or persecution. These individuals flee conflict or persecution in order to seek shelter elsewhere, often leaving behind families, property, and a way of life. The UN Convention on the Status of Refugees of 1951 (Refugee Convention) and the UN Convention on Reduction of Statelessness of 1961 (Statelessness Convention) provide necessary legal protections for refugees and IDPs. These instruments codify protected rights for refugees and other populations of concern and create a legal obligation for states to protect them. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, established in 1949 and initially charged with a 3-year mandate to coordinate international action to safeguard the rights of refugees, continues its important work on behalf of 36.4 million refugees, stateless persons, and IDPs today.

This hearing will highlight the accomplishments achieved since the enactment of the Statelessness and Refugee Conventions and will identify areas for improvement. Both the U.S. Government witness and the UNCHR representative will discuss how the conventions have been implemented, key areas of concern, and ongoing problems faced by refugees and stateless and internally displaced persons.

If you have any questions about this hearing, please contact Molly Hofsommer (Rep. McGovern) or Wendy Sneff (Rep. Wolf) at 202-225-3599, or send an email to 

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Frank R. Wolf, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Panel I

  • David Robinson, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State
    Written testimony

Panel II

  • Vincent Cochetel, Regional Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Washington Office
    Written testimony

Panel III

  • Sarnata Reynolds, Program Manager for Statelessness, Refugees International
    Written tesitmony



112th Congress