Women’s Refugee Commission

Violence Against Women, War and Peace
Women’s Refugee Commission

Geography: Global

Founded: 1989


122 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017

Who Are We?

The Women's Refugee Commission has a diverse professional staff of 30. The Women's Refugee Commission's board of directors and advisors include women working at senior levels in human rights and refugee organizations, as well as in education, medicine, law, journalism, government relations and communications. Many are former refugees. Our organization was founded in 1989 by Liv Ullmann, Catherine O'Neill, Susan Martin and others. The Women’s Refugee Commission is affiliated with and is legally part of the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, but does not receive direct financial support from the IRC.

What Do We Do?

The Women's Refugee Commission is an expert resource and advocacy organization that monitors the care and protection of refugee women and children. We speak out on issues of concern to refugee and displaced women, children and adolescents, who have a critical perspective in bringing about change but often do not have access to governments and policy makers. We also provide opportunities for refugee women and youth to speak for themselves through briefings, testimony, participation in field assessments and international conferences.

How Do We Work?

The Women's Refugee Commission serves as a watchdog and an expert resource, offering solutions and providing technical assistance. Staff and board members carry out an active program of advocacy, making recommendations on how to improve assistance to refugee women and children to policy makers in the United States government and UN agencies, and to NGOs.

Professional staff--experts in health care, anthropology, gender, children and refugee law--travel to refugee camps, detention centers and other areas where there are thousands of displaced families to conduct field research, technical training and convene meetings. In addition, the Women's Refugee Commission sends fact-finding delegations of professionals to meet with refugee women and children around the world and learn firsthand of their needs and conditions. Recent delegations have traveled to Jordan, southern Sudan, Colombia, Liberia and Thailand.