Oxfam reaction to President Biden’s announced return to foreign diplomacy


In response to President Biden’s speech at the State Department today announcing a much-needed reorientation of United States Foreign Policy on issues like the Yemen conflict, refugee resettlement, Abby Maxman, Oxfam America’s President & CEO, made the following statement:

“We hope today is the beginning of a much-needed shift in US foreign policy towards global collaboration to defend human rights and promote justice. We welcome President Biden’s recognition that global cooperation is key to addressing our common threats including conflict, mass displacement, racial injustice, the climate crisis, and COVID-19.

“For nearly six years, the United States has fueled conflict in Yemen that has triggered the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and left millions of Yemenis at risk of starvation. The US policy towards Yemen has wrongly prioritized strengthening alliances with Gulf powers over the welfare and rights of Yemen’s most vulnerable communities.

“Today’s announcement that the US will stop supporting offensive operations in Yemen is a welcome repudiation of that approach. And we are hopeful that the appointment of Tim Lenderking as Special Envoy for Yemen will put the Yemeni people at the center of US policy toward the country. Together, these steps should represent a genuine break with the failed policies of the past – and a renewed focus on saving lives, rebuilding Yemen’s economy, and creating the conditions for an inclusive peace.

“Two US administrations have gotten it wrong on Yemen, so we welcome President Biden’s course correction and look forward to his taking further action for the people of Yemen who have been caught in crisis.

“We also welcome President Biden’s announcement that he will work with Congress to raise the annual refugee admissions ceiling to a level commensurate with the scale of global need. The US can and should both provide urgent relief to those who are caught in danger, while also addressing the underlying issues that force families from their homes in the first place. After years of living in limbo, we owe it to these families to make this right, right now.

“President Biden’s address at the State Department signals to Americans and the world that he will seek to empower diplomats to advance shared values like justice, equity, and inclusion. It’s time for America to contribute towards shared progress and prosperity, rising standards, and all forms of equality, not seek to gain at the expense of families and communities elsewhere.

“President Biden’s address is a promising step toward reestablishing the United States as a global citizen in good standing. We urge him to put rights and dignity at the heart of the United States’ engagement with the world.

“Now is the time for a big, bold agenda that will deliver a more resilient and dignified future where everyone can thrive, not just survive.”

Press contact

For more information, contact:

Lauren Hartnett
Humanitarian Media Lead
New York, NY
Cell: (203) 247-3920
Email: [email protected]

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