• Women’s Refugee Commission applauds bipartisan support for U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

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    Washington, D.C., May 31, 2012 – The Women’s Refugee Commission applauds last week’s bipartisan announcement from Senators McCain (R-AZ), Durbin (D-IL), Moran (R-KS), Harkin (D-IA), Barrasso (R-WY), Coons (D-DE) and Udall (D-NM) affirming their support for United States ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Ratification of the Convention, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006, would not only further strengthen the rights of Americans with disabilities, it would also strengthen U.S. efforts to protect those with disabilities affected by conflict and humanitarian crises abroad.

    Refugee Advocate to Receive Prestigious Immigration Law Award

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    NEW YORK, NY, May 23, 2012 – 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, has been named the winner of the eleventh annual Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law. She will receive the honor on June 13th at the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Applauds Move to Protect Detained Immigrants from Rape and Assault

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    WASHINGTON, D.C., May 18, 2012—In a critical week for immigrant rights, the Obama Administration announced yesterday that the long-awaited 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) protections should extend to adult and children immigrants who are detained in U.S. facilities, as intended by the bipartisan legislation. In its decision, the Administration directed that each federal agency responsible for populations in confinement shall draft its own standards but will work with the Justice Department to ensure that these standards meet PREA requirements. It is now critical that the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, which detain adult immigrants and unaccompanied immigrant children, respectively, immediately draft and enact their own regulations. These regulations must be fully and meaningfully compliant with PREA and apply to all custodial facilities in their jurisdiction.

    House Bill on Violence against Women Weakens Protections for Abused Immigrant Women

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    WASHINGTON, D.C., May 17, 2012–The Women’s Refugee Commission calls on Congress and President Obama to reject H.R. 4970, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday. Sponsored by Republican Sandy Adams (FL) and supported by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), H.R. 4970 removes critical protections that have made our communities safer.

    RIGHTS GROUPS CALL FOR REFORM OF DANGEROUS CUSTOMS AND BORDER POLICIES AND PRACTICES

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    Immigration Officers Continue to Have Impunity as Migrants Are Needlessly Put at Risk

    WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2012–Pressure is mounting for the Obama administration to make swift changes in U.S. Border Protection policies and actions. Tomorrow, PBS will air a piece on Need to Know exposing Border Patrol’s horrific abuses against migrants. Representative Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) is also holding a Congressional Briefing tomorrow on an international study that found that current U.S. policies are inadequate in controlling the border and actually make conditions more dangerous for vulnerable migrants. 

    U.S. Border Patrol Must be Accountable and Transparent

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    Groups to Testify Before Inter-American Commission on Human Rights After Report Finds Widespread Mistreatment

    WASHINGTON, D.C.–Today, human rights groups, including No More Deaths, the Southern Border Communities Coalition, Latin America Working Group, the Women’s Refugee Commission, the ACLU of New Mexico-Regional Center for Border Rights and the National Immigration Forum, will present testimony before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) about human rights violations in the detention and repatriation of migrants entering the United States through the U.S.-Mexico border. Established by the United States and all countries in the Western hemisphere in 1959, the IACHR is authorized to examine allegations of human rights violations by any member country. The hearing will take place at 9:00 a.m. in the offices of the IACHR at 1889 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. The U.S. government will send representatives to respond to the allegations.

    Children Do Not Belong in Detention!

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    International Detention Coalition launches global report and campaign at UN Human Rights Council: calls on states to end immigration detention of children

    Geneva, 21 March 2012—Every day, in countries around the world, thousands of children, many of them unaccompanied minors, are deprived of their freedom and are locked up simply because they do not hold the right documents. In the United States alone, over 9,000 such children were taken into custody in 2010.

    “Children are often fleeing abuse, poverty or war when they are detained,” said Michelle Brané, Director of the Detention and Asylum Program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “This growing practice by governments has a devastating effect on the physical, emotional and psychological development of children and should be stopped.”

    New, More Humane, Civil Detention Center For Immigrants Opens in Texas

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    WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Women's Refugee Commission welcomes, with reservations, the opening of the Karnes County Civil Detention Center in Karnes, Texas—the first Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility built under a less penal model. The 608-bed facility, which opened on March 13, will house male immigration detainees and will be operated by the private, for-profit GEO Group. It is the first facility that ICE has built since the agency’s 2009 announcement that it would reform the immigration detention system and move away from jail-like facilities to house immigration detainees. Individuals at the facility will have less restrictive conditions, which are more appropriate for those detained under ICE’s civil authority, including more outdoor and indoor recreation, freedom of movement and contact visits with their families. There is also more natural light throughout the center than at other detention facilities.

    Conditions at ICE facilities have been notoriously inhumane in the past. These reforms strive to improve conditions to meet basic human rights standards.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Recognized on Top 50 List of Ideas and Solutions Improving the Lives of Girls and Women Worldwide

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    Women Deliver Features Grassroots and Global Initiatives that Promote a Better World for Girls and Women

    Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization, announced the “Women Deliver 50,” a compilation of the 50 most inspiring ideas and solutions that are delivering for girls and women across the globe. After receiving hundreds of online nominations from 103 countries, a selection committee chose 125 finalists to be voted on by the public. More than 6,000 individuals participated in the online voting. The Women's Refugee Commission’s project “Reducing Maternal Mortality through Disaster Risk Reduction Policy and Planning” is honored to be among the winning selections.

    Open Letter in Response to the Closing of the Berks County Family Shelter Care Center and Solicitation of New Family Detention Beds



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    Attention John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

    In November of 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the Berks County Family Shelter Care Center in Pennsylvania will be closing. The Obama Administration took positive steps in rolling back family detention in 2009 by releasing families from the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility in Taylor, Texas, and canceling a solicitation for three new family detention centers. The closure of the Berks facility is an excellent opportunity for the administration to continue to demonstrate its commitment to detention system reform by ending the practice of detaining families.