US, UNHCR concerned over South Sudan refugees (update)

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The United States expressed concern Wednesday 6 June over the “dire situation” facing refugees in South Sudan, and called, in a statement, on international partners to respond to an appeal for help by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Earlier this week, the UNHCR reported that the situation had sharply deteriorated […]

UN, Canada fund battle against Thai human trafficking

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Thailand, called by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) a “migration hub in South East Asia and a key country of destination for migrant smuggling”, is entering agreements with Canada and the IOM to combat the problems of human smuggling and to improve border management. Two separate agreements are being concluded this week. […]

Switzerland still weak European spot in US human trafficking report


BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland in 2010 retained its poor “tier 2″ ranking in the annual US Trafficking in Persons Report 2011, one of the most broad-ranging global studies of the extent of the problem. Tier 1 countries comply fully with the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act, while tier 2 countries are defined as those “whose […]

US Mission in Geneva no. 2 worldwide for “green diplomacy”

US Mission chocolate hedgehogs

Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – The US Mission in Geneva 29 April is celebrating its second-place honour for a new award given by the US State Department, the first annual Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) award, “which recognizes leadership and innovation in sustainability projects at State Department buildings around the world”, according to the Geneva office. The […]

Re-trafficking emerges as untreated migration problem


Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – A new UN report indicates, for the first time, the extent of the problem of re-trafficking of humans, in particular women and children. It closely studied 79 cases of re-trafficking, out of a database of 14,000. “Not a single one of the 79 people on the IOM database that form the […]

US State Dept backtracks on changes to form

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ordered a halt to proposed changes to a passport application form that were announced 22 December, according to AP 8 January. The US State Department’s Consular Report of a Birth Abroad, which is required for first-time passport applications and by foreign-born minors, would no longer have referred to […]

Holbrooke remains in critical condition after surgery

Veteran US diplomat Richard Holbrooke remains in critical condition at a Washington DC hospital after surgery to repair a tear in his aorta Saturday 11 December. He underwent a further procedure 12 December to improve his circulation, the State Department said. Holbrooke has been the Obama administration’s chief envoy for the diplomatic side to the […]

Wikileaks: US State Dept cables cause consternation worldwide

The release of more than 251,000 secret communications between the US State Department in Washington, USA and US embassies and consulates has caused widespread embarrassment in capital cities around the world. The release 28 November by Wikileaks, an online whistleblower, was timed to coincide with the publication by major newspapers around the world of articles […]

US condemns Russian reporter’s beating

The USA has strongly condemned the “heinous” attack 6 November on Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin, in which two men savagely beat the reporter with an iron bar. Kashin is in hospital in an induced coma suffering from a fractured skull, with jaw and finger injuries; there reports he has had fingers amputated. US State Department […]

One of three US hikers freed by Iran

Bern, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Sarah Shourd, 32, one of three hikers who were arrested by Iran in July 2009 for spying after they crossed into Iran from Iraq at an unmarked border, has been seen leaving  prison, and it’s been confirmed on a web site run by the hikers’ family, that she was headed for […]