April 2011Latest News Latest Reports Upcoming Events
Women's Refugee Commission E-Newsletter
Voices of Courage Luncheon
This year's luncheon is shaping up to be an exciting event. Our theme is urban refugees, and we will honor two incredible women refugees, Zrinka Bralo and Stella Mkiliwane—along with corporate honoree Thomson Reuters Foundation for its humanitarian news service AlertNet. Our illustrious presenters include two award winning actresses—Liv Ullmann and Mamie Gummer—and award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa.
The luncheon is just three weeks away, and if you haven't gotten your tickets yet, now is the time! You can purchase tickets here. For the first time, we are also offering "virtual seats" for those who can't attend the event, for just $25. Virtual supporters will be able to view a live video stream of the event and will have their names added to our online supporter wall. Those who are in the New York area will also have their names entered into a raffle and one lucky winner will be able to attend the luncheon and bring a guest. Be sure to get your virtual seat.
Urban Refugees on Capitol Hill
In March, the Women's Refugee Commission participated in a forum on Capitol Hill for policy makers and practitioners on the protection and assistance needs of urban refugees. More than 50 percent of the world's refugees are now living in towns and cities, not camps. These are very difficult environments, where refugees often encounter xenophobia and racism. They typically cannot work legally and are vulnerable to detention and deportation. Director of Advocacy and External Relations Joan Timoney moderated a panel on protection challenges in urban areas, and Senior Program Officer Jina Krause-Vilmar presented on the importance of safe access to effective livelihoods programs for displaced women and girls, drawing on her recent trip to Kampala, Uganda.
Rights Groups Demand Reforms from the U.S. Government on Immigration Policy
The Women's Refugee Commission joined other rights groups in calling for reform in U.S. immigration policy. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) recently released a report on immigration in the United States finding that the Department of Homeland Security is increasingly detaining alleged violators of civil immigration law, favoring a penal incarceration model instead of using detention only in exceptional cases—as international law requires.
On March 28, Director of Detention and Asylum Michelle Brané participated in an IACHR hearing on U.S. government human rights violations in immigration enforcement. Ms. Brané raised the issue of how detention policies and practices impact children and families. "The government must implement simple procedures to protect the due process rights of families, such as allowing telephone calls in order to make child care arrangements, access to family court and participation in custody hearings, as well as facilitating the ability of parents to obtain travel documents and make travel arrangements if they choose to take their children with them when they are deported," she noted.
In the News
The New Yorker magazine published a letter by the Women Refugee Commission's Dale Buscher, Senior Director for Programs, in response to its article "Prophet Motive."
CNN Español interviewed Michelle Brané, Director, Detention and Asylum Program, for a piece on the hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Ms. Brané was also quoted in a Huffington Post article "Federal Officials Send 4-Year-Old U.S. Citizen Back to Guatemala."
An Inter Press Service article, "Pregnancies Don't Wait for Emergencies to End," quotes Sandra Krause, Director of Reproductive Health.