Dale Buscher, director of protection, and Lauren Heller, program officer, Women's Refugee Commission, have an article in the current edition of Forced Migration Review, which focuses on urban displacement. The article, “Desperate lives: urban refugee women in Malaysia and Egypt,” is based on research undertaken by the Women's Refugee Commission as part of its project on the links between livelihoods and gender-based violence.
In a letter to the editor, Michelle Brane, director of our detention and asylum program, and Wendy Young, executive director of KIND, talk about the needs of Haitian children following the earthquake in Haiti. Read the letter as it appeared in the Washington Post (It's the second letter).
From Monday Developments
By Megan McKenna
When communities are displaced, women, young people, the elderly and minorities are often marginalized. They seldom get a chance to participate in decisions that directly affect their lives, which can put them at greater risk of harm.
The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children is working with the UN refugee agency to help ensure that refugee girls, boys, women and men of all ages and backgrounds have a chance to participate substantively in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the agency’s policies and operations. The “mainstreaming” of age, gender and diversity into the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) work will promote gender equality and the rights of refugees of all ages.
“One of the main goals of UNHCR’s age, gender and diversity mainstreaming is to strengthen the voices of refugees in UNHCR’s overall planning process, which will improve their protection, and UNHCR’s operations as a whole,” says Dale Buscher, director of the Women’s Commission protection and participation program.
By Michelle Brané, Director of Detention and Asylum, Women’s Refugee Commission, published on Huffington Post.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) announcement this week that they will stop detaining families at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, is terrific news. When I first visited the facility, which is a former prison, in December of 2006 I was shocked at what I saw -- kids getting only one hour of school a day, terribly inadequate medical care, insufficient time to eat, and, worst of all, inappropriately severe discipline. (See my report: Locking Up Family Values: The Detention of Immigrant Families.)
Philadelphia Inquirer - Thank you for bringing attention to the tragedy in Uganda ("Peace in Uganda: A plan to end a conflict," Oct. 12). The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children recently sent a delegation to northern Uganda to look at the situation for children and youth who have grown up knowing nothing but civil war. They have suffered unspeakable atrocities, including recruitment into the rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army, where they are forced to kill family and friends and act as sex slaves and porters. Many girls bore children after becoming rebel "wives."
As a tentative peace takes hold, the young men and women we met identified education as their priority concern and the solution to many of their problems. Other major concerns are the lack of economic opportunities and access to health facilities.
The young people we met are looking for support from the government of Uganda, with the help of the international community. These young people want to help themselves, but can't do so without support.
Jenny Perlman Robinson
for Refugee Women and Children
Ottawa Citizen -- It is indeed true that the lives and safety of women and girls in Darfur, Sudan are at great risk, in particular those living in camps for the displaced. They face the danger of sexual violence almost daily, as they leave the relative safety of the camps to search for firewood to cook their food. Over time, they must go farther and farther to gather firewood.
In addition, girls may miss out on education opportunities as they forage for cooking fuel, or because they stay at home to watch younger siblings as their mothers collect firewood. Men and boys dare not leave the camps to collect wood as they might be killed.
The international community must act to protect displaced women and girls, in Darfur and around the world. We can do this by promoting fuel-efficient technologies and alternative fuels to lessen the need for firewood collection (which would also have environmental benefits), by providing safe transportation to firewood collection sites and/or by using peacekeepers to patrol firewood collection routes.
Women's Commission For Refugee Women and Children