News from the Week of January 27th


The U.N. Refugee Agency has started a campaign in solidarity with refugees around the world. Its goal is to have supporters track the miles they walk, run, or bike worldwide with the goal of accumulating two billion kilometers. The UNHCR hopes to bring the plight of refugees to the forefront of people’s minds through their daily activity.

Kurdish refugee Behrouz Boochani won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature for his book No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison. Boochani, who has been detained since entering Australia in2013, wrote the book in Farsi using WhatsApp messages to his translator.

Pope Francis will take a three-day trip to the United Arab Emirates beginning on February 3rd. This is the first time a Catholic pope will travel to the UAE, Francis is hoping to use the opportunity to promote peace among citizens of different religious backgrounds.

The Trump Administration’s new “Remain in Mexico” policy requires asylum seekers to return to Mexico until their court hearings for asylum in the United States are complete. The policy leaves many asylum seekers vulnerable to the very violence which led them to seek protection in the United States in the first place. As Human Rights First documented, Mexico is not safe for refugees nor asylum seekers.

Retired Captain Rosemary Mariner was the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet in the United States Navy. Today, she will be laid to rest after a long fight with ovarian cancer. At her funeral, Captain Mariner will receive the first-ever all-female flyover: four women will fly "Super Hornet" jets in Maynardville, Tennessee, near her home. VFAI salutes the life and trailblazing service of Captain Mariner.