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  • Violence in Central America is Behind an Upsurge in Unaccompanied Minors

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    U.S. Government Policies and Practices Inadequately Address Children’s Need for Protection

    * There will be a press briefing on Monday, Oct. 15 at 11:00 Eastern Time.
    Conference Call: (888) 327-8914, Pass code: 9667817.

    A press kit is available at https://womensrefugeecommission.org/forced-from-home-press-kit

    New York, NY, October 15, 2012—Violence in three Central American countries is the primary reason behind a dramatic upsurge in the number of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the border into the United States, and until conditions in these countries change substantially, this trend will be the new norm, cautions the Women’s Refugee Commission in Forced From Home: The Lost Boys and Girls of Central America, a report released today.

    Beginning in October 2011, an unprecedent­ed number of unaccompanied alien chil­dren from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras began migrating to the United States. From October 2011 to April 2012, U.S. immigration agents apprehended almost twice as many Central American children as in previous years. The Department of Health and Hu­man Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the agency tasked with the care and custody of these children, had a record 10,005 unaccompanied children in its care by April 2012.

    Agencies Highlight Need to Include Sexual and Reproductive Health in Emergency Preparedness and Planning

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    October 12, 2012, New York, NY—The Women’s Refugee Commission marks International Disaster Risk Reduction Day today, and commends the focus on women and girls as a force of resilience as this year’s theme.

    Humanitarian emergencies have a disproportionate effect on the poorest and most vulner­able, particularly women and children.

    “Involving communities, and working directly with women and girls, not only helps to identify their specific vulnerabilities, but allows us to work together to leverage their strengths and ultimately reduce the gendered impact of disasters,” said Jennifer Schlecht, senior program officer, sexual and reproductive health. “Women and girls can be a crucial force of resilience.”

    Forced from Home: The Lost Boys and Girls of Central America. MEDIA BRIEFING 10.15.12

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    Bringing Displaced Persons with Disabilities out from the Shadows

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    Women’s Refugee Commission urges that the rights of refugees with disabilities be recognized in human rights monitoring mechanisms

    New York, NY, September 12, 2012—As the fifth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities gets underway, the Women’s Refugee Commission calls on all parties to ensure that in implementing the Convention, they recognize and ensure the rights of refugee and other displaced women and children with disabilities, who face particular risks. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities aims to advance the rights of persons with disabilities, including those who have been displaced because of conflict or natural disaster.

    “Displaced persons with disabilities remain invisible in more ways than one,” said Emma Pearce, Program Officer, Disabilities, for the Women's Refugee Commission. “Not only are they socially isolated and separated from their communities, but they are rarely consulted when humanitarian programs are designed and implemented.”

    Mother Loses Battle for Custody of Her Son

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    Missouri Judge Upholds Decision to Terminate Parental Rights of Encarnación Bail Romero

    New York City, July 18, 2012—In a legal battle that has focused national attention on the urgent need for immigration reform, a Missouri judge has ruled against Encarnación Bail Romero, whose son Carlos was adopted by an American couple against her wishes. Carlos was just an infant when his mother, a young woman from Guatemala, was arrested during an immigration raid at the poultry processing plant where she worked. He is now five and has been living with his adoptive parents, who renamed him Jamison, for most of his life. Ms. Bail Romero is expected to appeal Judge David Jones’s decision.

    HOUSE BILL FIGHTS CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM’S BIAS AGAINST UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

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    Women’s Refugee Commission Supports Legislation to Keep Families Together by Protecting the Rights of Immigrant Parents

    The Women’s Refugee Commission welcomes the introduction of the Help Separated Families Act of 2012 (HR6128). This landmark legislation, introduced today by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), represents a long-overdue step forward in the effort to protect children’s well-being and family unity when parents become involved with the immigration enforcement system.

    Family Planning Services Desperately Needed in Regions Affected by Conflict or Disaster

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    Women’s Refugee Commission Commends International Family Planning Summit and Calls for Attention to Displaced Populations

    New York, NY, July 9—This week, global health leaders are convening in London for a summit that is mobilizing efforts to expand access to contraceptives to an additional 120 million women in the poorest countries. Hosted by the UK’s Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the summit aims to rally international agencies, governments and organizations to make political and financial commitments to meet this goal, enabling more women and girls to have control over their lives and futures. The Women’s Refugee Commission welcomes this global movement and calls for greater consideration of some of the most vulnerable women and girls: the millions displaced because of political conflict and the millions more displaced by natural disasters. This population is currently severely underserved with little access to family planning.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Marks World Refugee Day, Highlights the Plight of Displaced Adolescent Girls

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    NEW YORK, NY, June 20, 2012—The Women’s Refugee Commission, with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Permanent Missions of Sweden and Liberia to the United Nations, will host a reception to mark World Refugee Day on Wednesday, June 20.  Speakers include H.E. Mr. Mårten Grunditz, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations, H.E. Madam Marjon Kamara, Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations, Udo Janz, Director, UNHCR, New York, and Joan Timoney, Director of Advocacy and External Relations, Women's Refugee Commission. Congolese sisters Sandra Uwiringiyi’mana and Adele Kibasumba will perform a song they wrote to portray the experience of refugees, “Nzamuye Amashimwe” (“I Raise My Thanks”).

    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.