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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.