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    Conditions slowly improve in Nogales for migrant children at border

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    NOGALES, Arizona – The conditions are slowly starting to improve for nearly one thousand unaccompanied migrant children sheltered at an impromptu holding center here, officials said Tuesday.

    The children now have access to catered food, onsite showers, medical facilities for vaccinations and a makeshift laundromat after being shipped from overflowing detention facilities in Texas over the weekend, Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino told msnbc.

    Some advocates argue that the heightened border security has had the opposite effect, with a focus on enforcement rather than stemming the problem at the source in the countries the children are escaping.

    "It's really trapping kids in a burning house," Jennifer Podkul, senior program officer at the Women's Refugee Commission, told msnbc. "If they do have legitimate concerns, they should have access to a place that's safe."

    Read the MSNBC article.

    Surge of children fleeing gang recruitment in Central America creates crisis in U.S. shelters

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    The surge of children fleeing gang recruitment in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to seek asylum in the U.S. and other countries is a crisis comparable to Africa's child soldiers, a United Nations official said Tuesday.


    "The demand for coming is so exorbitant that it makes it ripe for smugglers and traffickers to take advantage of the situation," said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at Women's Refugee Commission.

    Read the article in the New York Daily News.

    Short-Term Border Facilities Holding Some Child Migrants Too Long

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    The federal government is scrambling to house a surge of unaccompanied Central American children and teenagers apprehended crossing the border illegally, many in Texas' Rio Grande Valley.


    "Border Patrol stations were not designed for any kind of long-term custody," said Michelle Brané of the Women's Refugee Commission in Washington, D.C. "They are completely ill-equipped to deal with anybody long term, and they are particularly inappropriate for children to be in for any length of time."

    Brané said such facilities have no showers, beds or recreation areas.

    Read the full article in Fronteras.

    More undocumented children arrive in Arizona in DHS bid to relieve crowding

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    The Women's Refugee Commission is cited in this CNN report on the uprecedented number of women and children fleeing violence in Central America and coming to the U.S. 

    70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?

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    IN A DOORLESS desert safe house in northwestern Mexico, the drug traffickers sized up the boy—17 years old, 1,700 miles from home, gay, alone—and asked if he was too scared to strap on a load of marijuana and walk across the border into Arizona.

    The kid—I'll call him Adrián—paused to consider his options. He didn't have any. Okay, he told them. He'd do it.

    A Women's Refugee Commission report is cited in this Mother Jones article about the surge of chidlren fleeing violence in Central America and seeking safety in the United States.


    Crossing alone: Children fleeing to U.S. land in shadowy system

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    Michelle Brané, director of our Migrant Rights & Justice program, is quoted in this article about unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America and seeking safety in the U.S.

    Read the article in the Houston Chronicle.

    Lackland to House Undocumented Children Again

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    Jennifer Podkul, senior program officer, Migrant Rights & Justice program, is quoted in this article about unaccompanied immigrant children being housed in Lackland Airforce Base.

    "They [children from Central America] said to us look, 'If I stay in my country I am going to die, and if I leave I might die, but at least I have a chance of living,'" said Podkul.

    Read more here.

    Why Are More and More Children Walking Across the Border?

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    Through the story of 14-year-old Enedelia Arriaga, Mother Jones tells the story of an unprecedented surge of children crossing the American border alone. The article cites extensively from the WRC's report "Forced From Home: The Lost Boys and Girls of Central America," blending facts and narrative to give a fuller picture of their experiences.

    Read the full article.

    Immigrant groups complain of 'icebox' detention cells

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    The Los Angeles Times quotes the WRC's Jennifer Podkul in this article about the practice of detaining immigrants in frigid cells to pressure them to agree to deportation. Two California Democrats, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of Downey, are pushing legislation to establish standards for the treatment of immigrants held in Customs and Border Protection facilities.

    Read the story here.



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    "There are more refugees now than at any other time in recent history," laments Sarah Costa, executive director of the Women’s Refugee Commission, one of the few organizations that focuses specifically on the world's displaced people, most of whom are women and children. With refugees spawned by catastrophes in Syria ("the biggest humanitarian crisis since Rwanda 20 years ago," says Costa), Somalia, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and even, still, Colombia the WRC has no shortage of projects to tackle. Here, Costa tells why WRC is making a difference, and how she keeps going.

    Read the interview on the Women in the World Foundation website.

    More Than 100 Women Arrested at Capitol Immigration Reform Protest

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    U.S. Capitol Police arrested more than 100 people Thursday after a group of female demonstrators participating in an immigration reform rally locked arms and blocked an intersection in downtown Washington, D.C.

    Emily Butera, senior program officer, migrant rights & justice program, speaks in this NBC piece.

    Watch the video here.

    In an Afghan refugee camp, Sakena Yacoobi looked to universal principles of law

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    In The Christian Science Monitor, Sakena Yacoobi, the executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and WRC Commissioner, writes about founding AIL in the refugee camps of Pakistan and establishing universal principles of law at a time when law was absent. 

    Read the full article here

    Unaccompanied Minors Deported To Mexico By The Thousands

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    This article on the apprehension and deportation of Mexican children in the U.S. in the Huffington Post cites the Women's Refugee Commission.

    Read more: Unaccompanied Minors Deported To Mexico By The Thousands

    More than 10,000 Children Were Deported to Mexico Last Year Alone

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    ABC News quotes the Women's Refugee Commission in a piece on the increasing number of children crossing the US/Mexico border alone. 


    Read more: More than 10,000 Children Were Deported to Mexico Last Year Alone

    War survivor Mariatu Kamara speaks for children at risk in conflict

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    Mariatu Kamara, former Voices of Courage honoree, is featured in story by the Christian Science Monitor.

    Mariatu Kamara has just arrived in Ottawa to help promote an exhibition on women civilians caught in the crossfire of conflicts at the Canadian War Museum. Ms. Kamara, who lived through the civil war in Sierra Leone, hopes events like this will help raise awareness about the impact of war on civilians, particularly children.

    Kamara has been recognized for her work championing the cause of war victims by the Women's Refugee Commission, based in New York City, which honored her with a Voice of Courage award. Liv Ullmann, the award-winning actress and cofounder of the commission, commended Kamara for her "incredible resilience in the face of adversity, for her compassion, and for her quest to tirelessly advocate for refugees and the displaced."

    Read the full article in the Christian Science Monitor here.

    Refugee women need sexual healthcare too, says Lakshmi Puri

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    In a recent article in the Guardian, acting head of UN Women sites a report by the Women's Refugee Commission, and highlights the need for family planning to be made available to refugees and women displaced by conflict.

    "According to the UN, at the beginning of 2012, more than 15 million people were registered as refugees globally. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said the number of people internally displaced by conflict, war or human rights abuses reached a record-high 28.8 million last year. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says refugees' demands for contraception should be met as soon as possible.

    But a study of refugee camps in Djibouti, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia and Uganda – conducted in 2011 by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the Women's Refugee Commission – found the use of contraceptives in camps was lower than in surrounding settlements."

    Read the full Guardian article here.

    The Women's Refugee Commission at Women Deliver

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    Concurrent Sessions and Side Events

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 28 – June 1, 2013


    • Click here to download a PDF of this page.
    • Click here to watch the LiveStream of Women Deliver events.
    • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter #wrcdelivers

    The Women's Refugee Commission works to improve the lives and protect the rights of women, children and youth displaced by conflict and crisis. We research their needs, identify solutions and advocate for programs and policies to strengthen their resilience and drive change in humanitarian practice.

    Our vision is a world in which refugee and internally displaced women, children and youth:

    Read more: The Women's Refugee Commission at Women Deliver

    Two extraordinary African women tell their stories

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    The Christian Science Monitor features article on 2013 Voices of Courage honorees Dahabo Hassan Maow and Atim Caroline Ogwang.

    Being forced by war or natural disaster to become a refugee presents huge challenges. Just finding food, water, and shelter is a major accomplishment. But if you are a woman, and have a disability as well, these challenges can multiply until they seem insurmountable.

    But two young women honored in New York in early May by the Women's Refugee Commission show that anything is possible. Their lives make two important points: As disabled women African refugees they represent remarkable stories of perseverance and courage as they lifted themselves out of dire circumstances. And to top that, they have now taken on a second role, as advocates for the many other disabled women refugees still in desperate need of help.

    Read the full article in the Christian Science Monitor here.

    Atim Caroline Ogwang Voice of America Interview (audio)

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    Voice of America interviews Atim Caroline Ogwang, our 2013 Voices of Courage honoree, about growing up as a deaf refugee girl in Uganda, life in the new nation of South Sudan, and her work with the organization she founded, Southern Sudan Deaf Development Concern. Emma Pearce, WRC's disability program officer, talks about the importance of providing education for children with disabilities.

    Listen to the interview below:

    If you are unable to play the interview through your browser, you can download it here.

    Number of Undocumented Children Who Cross U.S. Border Alone Has Tripled

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    Stateline, the daily news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts, quotes Jessica Jones in an article on the sharp increase in the number of children fleeing violence in Central America.

    Every day, 80 to 120 children cross the Texas border illegally — and alone.

    What’s happening in Texas reflects a nationwide trend: Immigration by undocumented children under 18 is on the rise, even as fewer adults come into the country illegally.

    Read the article here.