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    Women’s Refugee Commission Responds to Trump’s Executive Order Targeting Muslim Refugees

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    President Trump has signed an Executive Order that includes, among other provisions, a suspension of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program altogether and a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. for people traveling from a number of predominately Muslim countries.  The Executive Order says that priority will be given in the future to refugees who face religious persecution, “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

    This Executive Order also contains provisions that block refugee admissions from Syria indefinitely, suspend refugee admissions from all countries for 120 days, cap total refugee admissions for fiscal year 2017 at 50,000, suspend visa issuance to countries of “particular concern,” and expedite the completion of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all visitors to the U.S.

    Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration are Harmful, Ineffective, and Un-American

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    President Trump’s executive orders that calls for building a wall on the Mexican border, aggressive new actions to deport immigrants who lack legal status, and temporary or indefinite bans for some refugee populations is extremist, xenophobic, and misguided.

    In one fell swoop, Trump has taken a wrecking ball to our immigration system by ending a decades-long program that has granted refuge to the world’s most vulnerable people. Globally, the number of people displaced globally by crisis and conflict is at its highest since World War II. There are more than 65 million refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs), and approximately half of them are women and children.

    Trump poised to temporarily shut U.S.'s door to most of the world's refugees and start 'extreme vetting'

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    President Trump is poised to temporarily halt the nation’s refugee program and usher in the most sweeping changes in more than 40 years to how the U.S. welcomes the world’s most vulnerable people. Trump’s actions, which could come as soon as this afternoon, would block all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and suspend the acceptance of refugees from war-torn Syria indefinitely.

    Muslims, Latinos unify over Trump's immigration, border plan

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    Many U.S. Muslim and Latino advocates have joined forces in opposing changes to immigration rules by President Donald Trump, bolstering an alliance between them as they mull the prospect of aggressive restrictions.

    In joint press conferences and rallies across the country, they are decrying an action Trump signed to jumpstart construction on a southern border wall. Trump is expected to take steps to stop accepting Syrian refugees, suspend the United States' broader refugee program for 120 days and suspend issuing visas for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa.

    Some support Trump's immigration moves, others decry them

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    President Donald Trump’s first actions on immigration validated his supporters’ expectations and stirred those who advocate for immigrants, refugees and Muslims to respond with messages of strong opposition. Trump signed executive actions Wednesday that start work on the border wall, increase immigration enforcement and take away federal grant money from “sanctuary” cities that don’t help with immigration enforcement. He is also considering taking action to bar refugees from countries with large Muslim populations from coming to the United States.

    Women’s Marches Flood Cities Worldwide on Trump’s First Day

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    Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in cities across the U.S. and around the world on Saturday for massive protests a day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a signal of discontent with America’s new leader that threatened to upstage his first days in office. The Women’s March on Washington, billed as a response to Trump’s surprise election victory, eclipsed Trump’s swearing-in as the most widely attended political event in the capital this weekend. It was mirrored by large rallies across the U.S. and in international capitals including Berlin, Paris and Ottawa.

    Hearing Request to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Turnarounds of Asylum Seekers at U.S. Southern Border and Other Immigration Issues

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    Washington, DC —This week, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), along with 13 partner organizations*, submitted a hearing request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to provide testimony during its 161 Period of Sessions on measures taken by the United States that impede access to asylum and interfere with the right to family life and other core human rights protections.

    The testimony would address several issues, including turnarounds to Mexico of Central American and other migrants arriving to the U.S. southern border to legally seek asylum, the separation of asylum-seeking families after entry into the US, abusive conditions within Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities, and the expansion of immigration detention of asylum seekers, in some cases for prolonged periods of time, as a deterrent to future asylum seekers. 

    The requesting organizations believe that this hearing is necessary to bring a number of illegal, unjust, and harmful policies and actions against asylum seekers to light. 

    Read more: Hearing Request to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Turnarounds of Asylum Seekers at...

    Reproductive Health Care in Crises Has Come a Long Way, Says Sandra Krause, But There’s More to Be Done

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    There may be more women and girls at risk of maternal health complications in fragile and conflict-affected settings today, but attention to the issue is not new and the international community has made important strides over the last 20 years, says Sandra Krause, program director for reproductive health at Women’s Refugee Commission, in this week’s podcast.

    The Violence of Gender Discrimination in Nationality Laws

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    Upon first glance, gender-based violence (GBV) and laws pertaining to citizenship may seem worlds apart. In fact, there are significant links between women’s nationality rights and GBV. During these 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, it is a good time to consider how gender discrimination in nationality laws contributes to violence against women and girls.

    Nationality laws determine the ability to acquire, change, and retain one’s citizenship, as well as the ability to pass citizenship to children and non-national spouses. Though traditionally the nationality of wives and children was based on the nationality of the husband/father, over the 20th century most countries reformed their nationality laws (and gave women the right to vote), enabling women and men to confer citizenship on an equal basis.

    However, today 27 countries still deny mothers the equal right to confer nationality on their children. Roughly 50 countries maintain other gender-discriminatory provisions in their nationality laws, such as denying women the right to equally confer nationality on spouses, or stripping women of their citizenship due to their marital status.

    Women's Refugee Commission Leader to Speak in Sun Valley

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    The executive director of the Women’s Refugee Commission will attend this year’s Family of Woman Film Festival. The 10th annual Family of Woman Film Festival is Feb. 27 through March 5 in Sun Valley. Sarah Costa will present the annual Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture for the Dignity and Health of Women at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Ketchum. The public is invited to the free lecture, with a reception to follow.

    In 2014, the annual lecture was named in memory of Bonni Curran, a local philanthropist, deeply committed to working on behalf of women and children around the world.

    Displaced and Disrupted: Closing the Gaps in Maternal Health in Conflicts and Crises

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    Where violent conflict displaces people and disrupts societies, maternal and child health suffers, and such instability is widespread today. According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are 65.3 million forcibly displaced people, 21.3 million refugees, and 10 million stateless people over the world. In addition, more than 65 million people who are not displaced are affected by conflict.

    The special need for quality maternal health services in fragile settings has been established by various protocols, including the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action, adopted by 179 countries in 1994, and the concept of Minimum Initial Service Packages, advanced by the United Nations Population Fund and others.

    However, the conditions in fragile settings are changing, and too many mothers – especially adolescents – still lack access to quality care.

    Left Behind: Trump’s Immigration Plans Could Spur Uptick in Foster Care Numbers

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    President-elect Donald Trump made clear in a recent interview that he plans to deport between two and three million undocumented immigrants, a drastic increase from current practice under which about 235,000 were sent away in 2015.

    Many of the people being deported will be parents of children who are U.S. citizens, born into the rights and protections of this country. Child welfare and immigration reform advocates fear that the surge in deportation will prompt a spike in foster care admissions for children in this circumstance.

    NGOs Call for Better Protection for Female Refugees in Europe

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    This year more than 170,000 people have risked their lives attempting to reach Europe from Turkey via Greece. Their journeys are perilous and they face uncertain futures when they reach Europe. But for women, the risks are amplified because of inadequate facilities at reception centers. Yet governments and humanitarian organizations are failing to meet their specific needs.

    “It is traumatic for women to stay in a variety of places and detention centers. It can be unsafe and they are unable to get access to protection and services,” Sarah Costa, executive director of the WRC, tells Equal Times.

    WRC, along with other women’s rights organizations, are pressuring the EU to change its approach. In June, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) partnered with the WRC to launch #WomensVoices, a campaign to raise awareness of the situation facing the women and girls in Europe who are fleeing conflict. The aim is to influence decision-makers, through a series of recommendations, events, and members’ networking across Europe, to put violence against refugee women on the European political agenda.

    5 Ways Women's Issues Were Ignored in 2016

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    2016, a year many predicted would end with a shattered glass ceiling and female president-elect, has not been great for women.

    The year, of course, undoubtedly had its high points: To name a few, 50+ companies have signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge, Samantha Bee emerged as a much-needed female voice in late-night television and President Barack Obama's administration finalized a rule prohibiting states from withholding federal funding from organizations that perform abortions. 

    But 2016 has also left many women feeling disenfranchised and vulnerable, and vital issues like equal pay, paid family leave, reproductive rights and equality for the LGBT community are even more at risk under the impending Donald Trump presidency.

    Though it's a tough list to narrow down, here are just five of the ways women's issues were ignored in 2016.

    Five Reasons Why Disability Matters in a Crisis

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    As social and community structures break down during a crisis, protection threats build up. In these scenarios, people with disabilities are at a much higher risk of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, in part because they are often more isolated and have less access to protection services. Research from the Women’s Refugee Commission shows that women and girls with disabilities are particularly at risk of sexual and gender-based violence. However, they may not be able to access support for survivors due to difficulties in reaching services and communicating their needs, or for fear that their accounts will not be taken seriously.

    A Woman Alone

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    In a recent, damning report, the Women’s Refugee Commission—an independent think tank focusing on problems that affect displaced women—called for a dramatic boost to financial, material, and human resources to specifically safeguard female asylum-seekers trapped in Greece and to remedy “a policy of delay, discrimination and despair.” According to the WRC report, more than 50 percent of the refugees stranded in Greece are women, and they face unprecedented threats to their physical and mental well-being.

    According to the WRC, since the EU-Turkey deal was struck in March, there has been an increase in reports of gender-based violence among refugees in Greece: “[G]aps in security expose women and girls to numerous threats, including [gender-based violence], trafficking and even kidnapping of children.”

    Calls for Obama to FREE thousands of asylum seekers from Central America so Trump can't deport them when he becomes President

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    The senior program officer at the Women's Refugee Commission, Katharina Obser, wrote last week: 'Undoubtedly, the results of Tuesday’s election have changed what it means to be an immigrant, refugee, and asylum seeker in the United States.

    ‘Given the rhetoric of deportation and exclusion that were often at the heart of the Trump campaign’s promises on immigration policy, we sincerely hope that those promises will not turn out be the reality of a Trump Administration.’

    Here's What It's Really Like To Be A Refugee Mom — & Here's What You Can Do To Help

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    Displacement due to conflict or natural disaster can often disrupt social systems and tear families apart, Jennifer Schlecht, Senior Program Officer of Reproductive Health Programs at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), told Romper.

    "When a mother chooses to carry her baby on a boat across the Mediterranean, to flee across dangerous terrain, or travel in a truck to cross the dessert, all to resettle in a camp or unfamiliar city, the desperation they must feel is undeniable," she said. "As a mother, there is not an ounce of me that can imagine the ache one must feel in your heart when making these risky choices."

    Calls for Obama to FREE thousands of asylum seekers from Central America so Trump can't deport them when he becomes President

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    Immigration advocates are calling on Barack Obama to free around 4,000 Central American families currently detained in the US while seeking asylum. The advocates want the families to either stop being detained altogether or for them to be released with a notice to appear before a judge, Bloomberg reports. Representatives from groups such as the Women’s Refugee Commission and the American Immigration Lawyers Association met with White House officials last week to discuss the issue. The Central American women and children are currently being kept in low-security jail-like conditions in Texas and Pennsylvania.

    Obama Urged to Free Asylum-Seekers Before Trump Takes Office

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    Representatives of groups including the Women’s Refugee Commission and the American Immigration Lawyers Association met with White House officials last week to discuss a host of immigration issues, including the fate of about 4,000 Central American detainees, some as young as two years old, who have fled violence in their home countries.