Cheryl Benton,Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Eric P. Schwartz,Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
George Rupp, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee
Washington, DC, June 14, 2011
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHWARTZ: In fact, they have political solutions. You can solve the problem of the displaced – of the stateless Rohingya in Burma when you have a government in Burma that respects human rights and democracy, and that’s true with all the situations. But that doesn’t mean that humanitarians can’t play a role in promoting those ultimate outcomes. How do we do it? First with a canary in the coalmine, right? You can be sure when the – when Qadhafi was marching on Benghazi, humanitarians in the government were pointing out to decision makers what the humanitarian implications were going to be if he got to take over Benghazi. So we have a role to play. And we need to play that role in government as advocates, saying, look, if this happens, here are the bad things that are going to occur. So we have that role to play. But also we have this role, as George has said, in humanitarian situations where the superficial view is, oh, you can only provide assistance. But you can actually provide people with the tools to empower themselves. And if so, they can then begin to help create political solutions as well.