• Protecting Immigrant Detainees from Sexual Assault

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    Contact:   Michelle Brané
    (646) 717-7191
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     Protecting Immigrant Detainees from Sexual Assault
    Applying PREA Standards to Immigration Detention


    In the wake of PBS Frontline’s recent reporting on the prevalence of sexual assault in immigration detention facilities, the Women’s Refugee Commission will join the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Just Detention International and the National Immigrant Justice Center for a Congressional briefing on the importance of applying the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) to all facilities in which immigrants are detained.

    Three Strong Women Leaders Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

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    New York, NY—The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) welcomes the news that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, peace activist Leymah Gbowee, also of Liberia, and pro-democracy campaigner Tawakul Karman of Yemen have been awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. Each of these women has been working tirelessly to bring peace and stability to her country. They are shining examples of women’s vital role in conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peace-building.

    Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict urges U.S. administration to stop rewarding child soldier recruiters by waiving penalties

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    The Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict today urged the Obama administration to reverse its decision to waive the penalties for governments using child soldiers. The decision, announced October 4, undermines the U.S. Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008, which sanctions these governments by denying them access to U.S. foreign military financing, military training and other forms of military assistance.

    The Violence Against Women Act: Building on Seventeen Years of Accomplishments

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    As members of the Senate Judiciary Committee consider the remarkable accomplishments of seventeen years of implementation of the Violence Against Women Act’s groundbreaking provisions for victims of abuse, crime and violence, the Committee must also consider the gaps that remain to be filled in order to protect one of the most vulnerable and frequently forgotten group of victims: immigrant women. Despite continued efforts to promote the rights of victims of abuse and violence in the United States, immigrant victims still face an impossible choice. If they come forward to report violence or abuse, they must conquer their fear of detention, deportation and separation from their children and loved ones. Or, if they choose not to come forward, they must face the painful silence of enduring assault, abuse and rape.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Welcomes Reintroduction of Act to Protect Children of Immigrants

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    New Legislation Would HELP Keep Families Together

    Washington, D.C.—The Women’s Refugee Commission applauds Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representative Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA) for reintroducing the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act (S. 1399/H.R. 2607). This legislation—originally introduced during the last Congress—would reduce the number of children who are needlessly separated from their parents as a result of immigration enforcement measures.

    Women's Refugee Commission Welcomes New Handbook on Alternatives to Immigrant Detention

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    May 18, 2011—The vast majority of immigrants who come to the United States seeking asylum have no violent criminal history, but many—including women, families and unaccompanied children—end up in detention facilities where their basic rights are denied. On any given day, more than 30,000 immigrants are held in detention in the U.S.

    Rights Groups Demand Reforms from the U.S. Government Following Release of an International Report Criticizing U.S. Immigration Policies

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, human rights groups including the National Immigration Forum, the Rights Working Group, the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law, and the Women’s Refugee Commission, together with the Transnational Legal Clinic of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, will present testimony about human rights violations in the U.S. government’s immigration enforcement and detention systems before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). 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 countries including the U.S. The hearing will take place at 9:00am in the offices of the IACHR at 1889 F Street, NW, Washington, DC, and the U.S. government will send representatives to respond to allegations of abuse.

    Women's Refugee Commission Concerned at Deep Cuts to Humanitarian Assistance

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    The Women’s Refugee Commission is deeply concerned that the fiscal year 2011 funding bill passed by the House of Representatives on February 19 contains cuts to humanitarian assistance programs that would severely compromise the safety and well-being of many women and children displaced by conflict and natural disasters.

    Missouri Supreme Court Sends Case on Immigrant Parental Rights Back to Lower Court

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    New York City, January 28, 2011—On Tuesday, January 25, the Missouri Supreme Court sent the case of a Guatemalan woman whose parental rights were terminated following an immigration raid at her workplace back to the lower court for a retrial. Encarnación Bail Romero, whose son was adopted by an American couple against her wishes, has been separated from her child for nearly four years. While the Supreme Court reversed the termination of Ms. Bail Romero's parental rights and the adoption decision, the Court was unable to reunite Ms. Bail Romero with her son because procedural errors in the family court require the case to be tried again.

    Michelle Brane Named One of Women's eNews' ’ “21 Leaders for the 21st Century"

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    Media Contact: Diana Quick
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 212.551.3087


    Director of Women's Refugee Commission’s Detention and Asylum Program Recognized for Cutting-edge Advocacy

    For Immediate Release

    New York City, January 7, 2011—The Women's Refugee Commission announced today that Michelle Brané, director of its detention and asylum program, has been named as one of Women’s eNews’ “21 Leaders for the 21st Century.” Brané is widely acknowledged within the immigrant rights and human rights community for her cutting-edge work on protecting women and children asylum seekers and immigrants.