July 2012Latest News Latest Reports
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY PAUSES TO REFLECT ON WORLD REFUGEE DAY
“When we invest in adolescent girls, when girls have the opportunity to grow, to thrive, to realize their potential, the results are so powerful for the girls, their families and their communities,” said Joan Timoney, who leads advocacy efforts for the Women’s Refugee Commission, at a reception we co-hosted to mark World Refugee Day. Partnering with the United Nations refugee agency and the Permanent Missions of Sweden and Liberia to the United Nations, we welcomed representatives from governments, UN agencies and international organizations to the event, which reflected on the situation of the 43 million displaced people worldwide.
Attendees viewed a moving new exhibition in the UN Visitor’s Lobby, "In Search of Solidarity: The State of the World’s Refugees 2012." Congolese sisters Sandra Uwiringiyi’mana and Adele Kibasumba—who performed at our Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon in May—sang a beautiful song they wrote to portray the experience of being refugees, joined by their sister Princesse Nabintu and brother Alex Ngabo. View photos from the event.
MICHELLE BRANÉ RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS IMMIGRATION LAW AWARD
Michelle Brané, a tireless advocate for the rights of detained migrants and the Director of the Detention and Asylum Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission, received the eleventh annual Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law. Over a 25-year legal career, Michelle has become one of the nation’s foremost experts on U.S. immigration detention and reform. We applaud her remarkable efforts on behalf of migrant women, children and other vulnerable populations in the United States. You can listen to Michelle’s acceptance speech here.
MAJOR STEP FORWARD FOR YOUNG IMMIGRANTS
On June 15, President Obama made a historic announcement: some young immigrants who are undocumented, meet certain criteria and do not pose a threat to society, will not be deported and could receive a work permit. This decision will profoundly impact the Women’s Refugee Commission’s work and advocacy for immigrant rights over the coming months and years. Staff members Emily Butera and Katharina Obser published a blog on the Huffington Post to celebrate this positive action.
MAKING PREPARATIONS BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES
In 2011 the Philippines topped the list of countries most prone to natural disasters. Senior Program Officer Jennifer Schlecht recently returned from her second trip there to help communities prepare for and respond to sexual and reproductive health needs in emergency situations. Partnering with the United Nations Population Fund, Jennifer trained local government officials and a community-based organization on how to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and how to protect maternal and newborn health. Participants developed a seasonal calendar of when natural disasters, such as typhoons and floods, were most likely to occur, a key factor in preparedness.
NEW CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS PLIGHT OF DISPLACED ADOLESCENT GIRLS
The Women’s Refugee Commission has launched a new campaign “Strong Girls, Powerful Women” that aims to raise awareness of the challenges displaced girls face and some of the solutions that can improve their lives. A composite of the experiences of adolescent girls whom we have interviewed, “Amina’s” story will take readers on a journey so they can better understand what life is like in a refugee camp. For the next three months, we will tell the story of what it is like to be female, young and displaced through Amina’s weekly journal entries. Learn more about the campaign and our work to protect and empower displaced adolescent girls here.
TAKE ACTION NOW: SUPPORT U.S. RATIFICATION OF THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
An intensive campaign is under way to secure U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This will help strengthen U.S. leadership in global efforts to advance the rights of persons with disabilities, including the 6.5 million who have been displaced. Please contact your U.S. Senators immediately to urge them to vote for ratification of the Convention.
In the News
The Huffington Post published a piece by Executive Director Sarah Costa, “World Refugee Day: Strong Girls, Powerful Women – It’s Time to Give Refugee Girls a Chance.”
Katharina Obser and Emily Butera of the Detention and Asylum Program wrote a blog, “Celebrating the Victories: Deferred Action for DREAMers,” for the Huffington Post.
A Huffington Post "Green" section article about a dedicated doctor working to protect fellow Burmese refugees on the Thai border mentions the Women’s Refugee Commission.
Senior Program Officer Emily Butera wrote a blog, “End Racial Profiling to Protect Immigrant Women and Children,” for the Rights Working Group.
Michelle Brané and Program Officer Jennifer Podkul co-authored the blog “The Changing Face of Migration: When Will the U.S. Response Change As Well?” on the Huffington Post.
Sandra Uwiringiy’imana and Princesse Nabintu were interviewed by UN radio after their performance at the World Refugee Day event at the UN.