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    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.

    Somalia's Champion for Displaced Girls: Dahabo Hassan Maow

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    The Daily Beast publishes article on the WRC's 2013 Voices of Courage award winner Dahabo Hassan Maow.

    At just 14 years old, Dahabo Hassan Maow was caught in the crossfire of her native Somalia’s civil war and injured so gravely that doctors were forced to amputate her leg at the knee. With no family (she was orphaned as a baby) or support, she fled her homeland, traveling by unpaved road to what she hoped would be the relative safety of Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, in Kenya.

    Read the full article on the Daily Beast here.

    Australia wins Voices of Courage award for helping refugees with disabilities

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    The Australian aid program was recognised for its global leadership on disability-inclusive approaches in humanitarian settings at an event in New York on 2 May 2013.

    The prestigious ‘Voices of Courage’ award was presented to Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr Gary Quinlan, by the Women’s Refugee Commission, an international non-government organisation that seeks to advance the rights and dignity of refugees. Two former refugees, Dahabo Hassan Maow and Atim Caroline Ogwang Atanga, also shared their stories and received awards.

    Read the full article on the AusAid website here.

    Child Migrants, Alone in Court

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    New York Times article on children migrants references Women's Refugee Commission report:

    "UNDER normal circumstances, the Border Patrol is supposed to transfer captured children out of its holding cells and into the custody of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement within 72 hours. But last year children were held for up to two weeks in Border Patrol cells with no windows to the outside, showers or recreation space, according to a report by the Women’s Refugee Commission based on interviews with 151 detained children. Some complained of inadequate food and water. One described a cell so crowded the children had to take turns lying down on the concrete floor to sleep. The lights were never turned off."

    Read the full article here.

    ICE Using New Tool For Detention Decisions

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    Michelle Brané is quoted in Fronteras article on new Immigrations and Customs Enforcement tool.

    The new tool is called the Risk Classification Assessment, and it is supposed be fully implemented nationwide this year.Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission in Washington, D.C. said the new tool ensures taxpayer money is used responsibly. ICE’s current detention budget is $2 billion.

    “It may very well show that we don’t need all those detention beds and we can enforce immigration laws much more economically by using alternatives to detention,” Brané said.

    Read the full article here.

    Displaced women need livelihoods safe from risk of violence

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    Sarah Costa, Executive Director of the Women's Refugee Commission, was interviewed by TrustLaw on the importance of providing livelihoods for women that are safe from the threat of gender-based violence.

    Given that the average period of displacement is more than 17 years and that 80 percent of the world’s 42 million displaced people are women and children, providing livelihoods for women that are safe from the threat of gender-based violence is crucial, Sarah Costa, executive director of WRC, told TrustLaw in an interview. “If you don’t provide women with livelihoods at the beginning, they become vulnerable” to violence, particularly rape, sexual exploitation and other types of gender-based violence, she said.

    Read the full article here.

    Jessica Chastain to be in movie directed by Liv Ullmann

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    On the Oscars red carpet, best actress nominee Jessica Chastain talks about her upcoming project, "Miss Julie," directed by our co-founder & honorary chair Liv Ullmann.http://wrc.ms/YsfjPK

    Advocates hail passage of Violence Against Women Act

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    Michelle Brané quoted in Asian Journal article on the passage of the Violence Against Women Act:

    “We are encouraged by the Senate’s leadership in passing the Violence Against Women Act, but are concerned that needed protections for immigrant survivors were left out of the final bill”, states Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission. Brané adds, “There is an obvious need for additional U-visas to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and we hope that immigration reform will take seriously the need to ensure the safety of immigrant victims.”

    Read the full article here.

    In immigration reform, remembering the women

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    Salon quotes Michelle Brané on the importance of including women in immigration reform:

    “Overall, one of our big concerns is to ensure that women and children are included in the conversation,” said Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission. “Often as we talk about reforming the immigration system, the fixes and the points that are made are created around protection or pathways to citizenship or roads to relief for men, though it’s not necessarily intentional.”

    Read the Salon article here.

    Risking their lives to reach the U.S

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    Jennifer Podkul, program officer, Migrant Rights & Justice Program, Women's Refugee Commission, appeared on Al Jazeera’s “Inside Stories America” in a segment entitled “Risking their lives to reach the U.S.” She spoke about the findings from the WRC’s report “Forced from Home: The Lost Boys and Girls of Central America.” The show can be seen here

    Catherine O’Neill, Advocate for Women and Children, Dies at 70

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    Catherine O’Neill, whose travels with the International Rescue Committee to refugee camps led her, along with the actress Liv Ullmann and others, to found the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, died Wednesday in Los Angeles. She was 70.

    Read the full obituary in The New York TImes.

    Catherine O'Neill dies at 70; political activist, women's advocate

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    Catherine O'Neill was a well-known figure among Southern California Democrats, running twice for the state Senate. After observing conditions in refugee camps around the world, she helped found what is now the Women's Refugee Commission.

    Read Catherine's obituary in The Los Angeles Times.

    Escaping Gang Violence, Growing Number of Teens Cross Border

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    Jessica Jones, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Migrant Rights & Justice program, is quoted in this piece about teens fleeing gang violence in Central America, a phenomenon that we highlighted in our report "Forced from Home: The Lost Boys and Girls of Central America." Read the transcript here.

    Christian Indonesians Live In NJ Church's Sanctuary to Avoid Deportation

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    ABC News quotes Michelle Brané, director of our Migrant Rights and Justice program, in “Christian Indonesians Live In NJ Church's Sanctuary to Avoid Deportation.” "They [five Christian men from Indonesia who have sought sanctuary at a New Jersey church in the hopes that it will save them from being deported] are in a Catch-22, whatever outcome they have is detrimental to their children. The reality is that these US citizen children can be really harmed by these decisions."

    Read more here.

    Poverty and fear of gangs drive young immigrants to U.S.

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    Our report "Forced from Home: The Lost Boys and Girls of Central America" is cited in this Reuters article "Poverty and Fear of Gangs Drive Young Immigrants to U.S." Read the article here.

    A Quarter of Deportations Are of Parents of U.S. Citizens

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    ABCNews/Univision quotes Senior Program Officer for MIgrant Rights and Justice, Emily Butera, in "A Quarter of Deportations are of Parents of U.S. Citizens."

    Nearly 205K Deportations of Parents of U.S. Citizens in Just Over Two Years

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    Senior Program Officer Emily Butera was quoted in the Colorlines article "Nearly 205K Deportations of Parents of U.S. Citizens in Just Over Two Years."

    DHS Finally Addresses Rape in Detention Facilities

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    New America Media featured our press release in "DHS Finally Addresses Rape in Detention Facilities."