FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 20, 2009
Author to Join Human Rights Delegation to Guatemala
Mirah Riben, advocate for the rights of mothers and their children, will be part of a human rights delegation to Guatemala, ”For Women's Right to Live" sponsored by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, August, 2009.
Of particular interest to Riben, who has authored two books on the adoption industry, will be visiting the victims’ shelter run by the Survivors Foundation, one of the only domestic violence shelters in Guatemala which fights to protect mothers whose babies are stolen as the first link in an illegal and lucrative supply chain for international adoptions.
The Director of the NGO Survivors Foundation, Norma Cruz, is a recipient of the U.S. Secretary of State's 2009 International Women of Courage Award. Cruz and her organization staged hunger protests of the mothers whose children were kidnapped and trafficked for international adoption.
The focus of the annual delegation is violence against women and the socio-political context of femicide, and efforts to end discrimination and violence against women in Guatemala. The delegation will meet with leaders in the Guatemalan women’s movement including organizers, lawyers, survivors, and family members and will learn how women’s rights groups are empowering women in rural areas working for both immediate security precautions and long-term systemic change in Guatemala. Delegates will explore the wider socioeconomic and political contexts in which gender-based violence takes place, learn about the country’s complex history and ongoing efforts to end impunity, hear from leaders in the human rights movement about their work, and meet with government officials charged with monitoring human rights.
Riben also hopes to visit with some of the children who have been trafficked who are awaiting identification of and reunification with their original families. I addition to including her experience in the second edition of her book, “The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry,” Riben will be blog about her experience at FamilyPresrvation.blogspot.com.
Riben is herself a mother who experienced the loss of a child to adoption, and who is Vice President of Communications of Origins-USA, a national non-profit that advocates for the rights of mothers and helping natural families in crisis remain intact. She will be joining members of Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR) and several social workers including Kathleen Leilani Ja Sook Bergquist from the Univ. of Las Vegas who she has written in her scholarship about the Hague Convention on International Adoption.
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