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Missed opportunities in 2024 budget, peacekeeping groups say

Date: March 27, 2024

Press Clip Source: Public News Service
Link to Source: Here | Full Podcast Episode: Here

Groups supporting peace around the globe say the budget approved by Congress is lacking crucial components.

After a monthslong stalemate, Congress has approved the fiscal year 2024 budget.

Megan Rodgers, U.S. policy and advocacy manager for the group Nonviolent Peaceforce, said there are cuts across the board affecting humanitarian aid and civilian support. She pointed out the bill also does not include language recognizing unarmed civilian protection, a methodology to peacefully protect civilians in violent conflicts.

"Any violent conflict that's making headlines today, there are UCP groups that are working and very effective, have access that other traditional aid groups don't, are equipping and protecting civilians that often go overlooked and disproportionately feel the effects of this violent conflict," Rodgers explained.

Rodgers pointed out unarmed civilian protection is used around the world and the U.S. government provides funds for groups employing it.

Rodgers noted budget negotiations for next year are already happening.

"That language was not included for the first time in about five years in the fiscal year 2024 bill and we are really keen to have that included in fiscal year 2025," Rodgers emphasized.

Rodgers added Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has a lot of influence on funds, such as for groups using unarmed civilian protection, as the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"We have appreciated her leadership in the past but are certainly looking for more support specifically for unarmed civilian protection as well as peace building and protection in the upcoming year," Rodgers stressed.

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