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.

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.”