• Gender-based Violence

    Women’s Refugee Commission Responds to the Arrest of Undocumented Domestic Abuse Victim

    Washington, DC -- On Wednesday, El Paso Times reported that last week, federal immigration agents went to the El Paso County Courthouse and arrested an undocumented woman who had just received a protective order alleging that she was a victim of domestic abuse. The article states that ICE may have received the tip from her alleged abuser.

    How Trump’s Executive Order Harms Women Refugees

    In the midst of the uproar over President Trump’s executive order (EO), entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” an important element missing from the debate is the disproportionate impact it will have on women. While the federal government provides limited data on women refugees, the State Department reported that in fiscal year 2016, over 72 percent of refugees resettled in the U.S. were women and children. 

    About A Boy: One Refugee’s Tale About Being Barred From The U.S.

    Imagine a boy, 13 or 14, dashing home from school, his mother there to greet him and give him a quick snack before he rushes back out to kick the soccer ball with his friends in the dusty street. Like most boys that age, he spends the requisite time on school work but lives for those precious hours after school and before dinner to spend with his friends. His body is changing. His interests are evolving. His world is full of possibility.

    Family of Woman lecture returns to nexStage

    One of the mainstays of the Family of Woman Film Festival, the Bonnie Curran Memorial Lecture for the Health and Dignity of Women, will return this year on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the nexStage Theatre on Main Street in Ketchum.

    This year’s keynote speaker will be Sarah Costa, executive director of the Women’s Refugee Commission. With more than 25 years of experience in the fields of women’s rights, reproductive health and gender and youth development, as well as global philanthropy, Costa’s mission at the Women’s Refugee Commission is to improve the lives and protect the rights of women, children and youth displaced by conflict and crisis.

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

    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.

    NGOs Call for Better Protection for Female Refugees in Europe

    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

    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.

    The Violence of Gender Discrimination in Nationality Laws

    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 – links that must be recognized and addressed to combat the root causes of gender-based violence.

    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.  

    Five Reasons Why Disability Matters in a Crisis

    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

    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.”

    We Stand With Refugee Women and Girls

    At a time when violence has forced record numbers of people to flee their homes, the Women’s Refugee Commission urges the incoming Administration and Congress to maintain strong bipartisan support for life-saving humanitarian assistance and unwavering leadership on the protection of human rights, including the right to asylum.

    VIDEO: The Needs of Refugee Women and Children in the Global Humanitarian Crisis

    In this powerful talk, executive director Sarah Costa explains the work of the Women's Refugee Commission, and discusses the current crisis. The numbers are staggering: one in 122 people across the world have been forced to flee, and the majority are women and children. The average length of displacement is 20 years. What can be done to help?

    Call Them Refugees

    It’s time for the U.S. government to treat these families as refugees rather than “criminal aliens” and a “national security threat,” said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “The U.S. government has spent huge amounts of money on detention and deterrence, and it isn’t working. The money should go to the courts and the asylum process so we can enforce the rule of law. Right now the asylum court backlog is five years.”

    Women Need Safe Livelihood Opportunities in the Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

    Recently Hurricane Matthew pummeled Haiti with brutal wind and rain, leaving the country and its people reeling from yet another disaster. Not yet fully recovered from the horrific 2010 earthquake, Haiti now faces difficult years ahead rebuilding infrastructure, homes, and livelihoods.

    An outsider takes charge of the Border Patrol — and yes, he'll wear the green uniform

    “The really tricky part is to make sure he has buy-in from the rank and file and the boots on the ground who will be following his leadership,” said Michelle Brané, an immigrant rights advocate at the New York-based Women's Refugee Commission, who met with Morgan last month.

    CLARA: How a livelihoods and risk assessment tool is supporting women’s economic empowerment

    In Partnership with the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) Oxfam in Iraq has piloted the Cohort Livelihoods and Risk Assessment (CLARA) tool. In June 2015 Oxfam and the Women's Refugee Comission (WRC) used this innovative participatory research method intended to help learn more about the challenges facing women - and in particular challenges to women's economic empowerment - in the northernmost district of Diyala governorate (Manell and Roberson 2015).

    Five Questions About the Historic UN Summits on Refugees and Migrants

    "The summits provided a good opportunity to highlight what’s going on, but we were disappointed that there were not more concrete, tangible commitments made that would make a real difference on the ground for refugees and migrants." - Sarah Costa, Executive Director of WRC

    Germany Makes Refugee Shelters Safer for Women – But Problems Remain

    “Often there are no separate living spaces for women and families and no sex-separated latrines or shower facilities,” according to the Women's Refugee Commission's recent report. “Women and girls are vulnerable to rape, assault and other violence in these facilities.”

    Women’s Refugee Commission: Refugee Protection Must be Gender Specific

    "We are looking for an explicit, detailed commitment to protect all displaced women and girls from gender-based violence while in transit and upon reaching their destinations. We are also calling for expansion of legal and safe employment opportunities that leverage the capacity of refugee women and youth to sustain and protect themselves and their families." - Marcy Hersh, WRC senior advocacy officer

    Media Advisory: WRC at 71st UN General Assembly Events

    As world leaders gather at the United Nations for the first high-level summit on Refugess and migrants, the Women’s refugee commission asserts that all responses to refugees and migrants must protect the rights and improve the lives of women, children, and youth.

     

    WHAT: New York, NY - On Monday, September 19, 2016, the 71st UN General Assembly will convene Heads of State and leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector at the first high-level summit focused on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. This landmark meeting aims to bring countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach. 

    WHEN: Friday, September 16th through Tuesday, September 20th. WRC will support the following events listed below: