April 2012 NewsletterLatest News Latest Reports
DEBATE OVER HOW U.S. GOVERNMENT TREATS IMMIGRANTS
Every year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants—including asylum seekers and victims of torture and trafficking—are detained by the U.S. government until their immigration cases are decided. Their detention can last for days, weeks, months or even years. Our Detention and Asylum Program works to ensure that the basic rights of vulnerable immigrants are protected and respected. To that end, Director Michelle Brané testified recently before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement in a hearing entitled “Holiday on ICE: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s New Immigration Detention Standards.” Michelle, who was the sole witness for the immigrant rights community, countered Chairman Lamar Smith’s (R-TX) contention that new detention standards were a “hospitality guide” and too lenient. She spoke about the poor and inhumane conditions the WRC has documented at immigration detention centers across the United States and how the standards can bring about important improvements in medical and mental health care, women’s health and prevention of and protection from sexual assault. Read Michelle's written testimony.
COALITION Calls for an end TO CHILD DETENTION
In countries around the world, thousands of immigrant children are locked up every day simply because they do not hold the right documents. In the United States alone, more than 9,000 such children were taken into custody in 2010. Detention, even for a very short time, can cause long-lasting damage and is unnecessary in the case of children and families. The Women’s Refugee Commission joined the International Detention Coalition in Geneva for the release of its new report Captured Childhood and the launch of the Campaign to End the Detention of Children. The campaign calls on countries to treat migrant children first and foremost as children. Join the campaign today and help stop their detention.
CAPITOL HILL BRIEFING HIGHLIGHTS COOKING FUEL ISSUE
Displaced women and girls must regularly find firewood to cook food for their families, or to sell to make a meager income. Each time they leave the relative safety of the camp to search for firewood, they risk being raped, beaten or even killed. The Women’s Refugee Commission’s Fuel and Firewood Initiative helps place this crucial health, environmental and safety issue on the humanitarian agenda. On March 5, Senior Program Officer Erin Patrick discussed the cooking fuel problem at an International Women’s Day event on Capitol Hill co-sponsored by the Women’s Refugee Commission, World Food Programme and World Food Program USA. Representatives JoAnn Emerson (R-MO) and James Mc Govern (D-MA), co-chairs of the bipartisan House Hunger Caucus, also lent their support to the event titled “Protecting and Empowering African Women in Emergencies.” Erin spoke about our efforts to reduce women's and girls' vulnerability to violence during firewood collection, as well as to reduce their labor and other burdens. Read more.
INDIANA SCHOOL Sets Example, Raising AWARENESS AND funds for WRC
Sophomores at South Side High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, deserve our deepest gratitude for participating in an effort to raise awareness about the devastating effects of conflict in such places as Bosnia and Sudan—and for contributing nearly $1,500 to the Women's Refugee Commission. The 155 students in honors English researched the history of genocide around the world and presented their findings in class. To raise money, they sold T-shirts, wristbands, buttons and donuts, and also raked lawns in exchange for donations. Called Project One, which stands for “One Hand, One School, One World,” their efforts drew the attention of a local TV station and newspaper. We applaud their initiative and commitment; they set an excellent example for others around the country who are looking for positive ways to get involved and make a difference. Thank you South Side High!
IN THE NEWS
Jessica Jones, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Detention and Asylum Program, was quoted in the Spanish language article "México detiene diariamente a miles de niños immigrantes indocumentados" which appeared in La Opinión and ABC.es publications.
Michelle Brané is quoted in this IRIN News article discussing the International Detention Coalition's campaign to end the immigration detention of children.
The Mizzima News piece “Chin Refugees in India Need International Support” mentions the Women's Refugee Commission.
We are mentioned in this allAfrica.com article about the “Women Deliver 50” list of top solutions for women and girls.
Our work on disabilities is cited in this blog by the Center for Global Prosperity.
The Women's Refugee Commission was established in 1989 to address the particular needs of refugee and displaced women and children.