American and Iraqi Mothers Highlight Iraqi Refugee Crisis

Contact: Medea Benjamin 415 235 6517
Dana Balicki 202 422 8624

May 8th, 2008

Panel On Growing Humanitarian Crisis with CODEPINK, Iraqi Community & Amnesty International USA

Washington, D.C.- Friday, May 9 at 10am, CODEPINK Women for Peace, Amnesty International USA and members of DC's Iraqi peace community will be addressing the disastrous effects of the Iraqi Refugee Crisis, with a special emphasis on the toll this is taking on Iraqi women and children. There will be a report back (with a photo show) by Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK cofounder, who has just returned from a trip to Syria and Jordan; as well as testimonies to life on the ground in Iraq by the award-winning Iraqi journalist Ban Adil Sarhan and the Refugee Director of Amnesty International USA.

WHEN: Friday May 9th, 10am
Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave NE

This panel/presentation is timed to coincide with Mother's Day to highlight the plight of Iraqi mothers who are suffering and trying to rebuild their lives in Iraq and abroad- the testimonies and reports of this panel will reflect MANY of their stories as well as what is being done to help them and what we can do as Americans to directly support these families.
Members of the community have been invited as audience; the panel will be taking questions from the press as well.

"The Administration spends more in one day at war in Iraq than they have spent in 5 years on humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees.
Intentionally or not, the U.S. government has brought Iraq to its knees and we, as Americans cannot ignore it. An entire people are reduced to begging, waiting in food donation lines or selling their bodies to feed their children," says Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK cofounder who has just returned from Syria and Jordan where she met with many Iraqi refugees and the organizations working with them.

Aseel Al Banna- Is a founder of the peace organization Iraqi Voices for Peace with Andy Shallal (listed below) . In 2006 she traveled with an Iraqi women's delegation throughout the United States to shed light on the horrors of the war in Iraq and its impact on women and children.
Ban Adil Sarhan –An Iraqi award-winning journalist who narrowly escaped from Baghdad and now lives in Oklahoma with her son. She was honored this past year at the International Women's Media Forum's Courage in Journalism Awards, emceed by IWMF board member Christiane Amanpour.
Sarnata Reynolds is the Refugee Program Director of Amnesty International USA where she promotes the enforcement of international human rights standards pertaining to refugees and asylum seekers. 
Aseel Al Banna
Anas "Andy" Shallal is an Iraqi-American artist, activist and restaurateur best known for owning and operating Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC.
Medea Benjamin is a cofounder of both CODEPINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange. She has just returned from the Middle East where she met with many refugees and the grassroots organizations working with them.
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