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Women’s Refugee Commission to Participate in Hearing on the Recognition of Refugees and Stateless Persons in the Americas

Mexico City, Mexico – Next week, September 6, 2017 at 11:30am-12:30pm local time to Mexico City, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will hold a hearing on the “Legal and judicial process for the recognition of refugees and stateless persons in the Americas.” The Women’s Refugee Commission has been invited to participate along with Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Human Rights First (HRF).

During the hearing, the Women’s Refugee Commission will be represented by Shaw Drake, fellow at Human Rights First. A brief outline of the remarks are as follows:

  • The U.S. engages in prolonged detention of asylum seekers in subpar, dangerous conditions. President Trump has ordered an increase in immigration detention facilities and the long-term detention of all migrants arriving without authorization pending a final determination in their removal cases, regardless of vulnerabilities or whether they are seeking asylum. At the same time, the government appears to be seeking to curtail the few, baseline detention standards that govern these facilities, despite recent deaths and documented medical negligence.
  • Asylum seekers in Mexico face significant obstacles and those waiting at the northern border face physical danger.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents are illegally turning back asylum seekers, leading to increased vulnerability and denial of access to legal protection. Certain populations – especially women and children – are therefore exposed to further dangers such as heightened risk of exploitation, trafficking, abuse, and other human rights violations.
  • Asylum seekers are being denied access to protection mechanisms and are being placed in expedited removal.

According to Leah Chavla, Program Officer at WRC, “The Women’s Refugee Commission is honored to be part of this hearing to help raise awareness of the prolonged detention and overall mishandling of asylum seekers at the U.S. border. The pervasive mistreatment of individuals within detention, and the illegal turnback of asylum seekers, are unacceptable actions that put vulnerable populations, particularly women and children, in harm’s way. WRC stands with HRW and HRF in a collective push for reformed and heightened protections for those fleeing danger in their home countries.”