Gender-based Violence

First-Ever Global Refugee Forum Kicks Off in Geneva Next Week

WRC Urges Support for Refugee Self-Determination, Focus on Gender Equality

NEW YORK, NY – Representatives from governments, international organizations, local authorities, civil society, the private sector, and refugees from around the world will gather in Geneva next week for the first-ever Global Refugee Forum. The two-day event is co-hosted by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the government of Switzerland, with the governments of Turkey, Germany, Ethiopia, and Costa Rica serving as co-conveners.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way: Let’s Do Better for Displaced Girls

This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

Despite the emergent spotlight on gender by humanitarian actors, much more needs to be done to challenge the pervasive gender inequalities that affect so many women and adolescent girls who’ve been displaced by conflict or crisis.

This was on my mind a few weeks ago when, as part of a Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) delegation, I met with women from Central America and from as far away as Cameroon in West Africa. They had fled unimaginable violence and were in migrant shelters and detention centers on both sides of the US/Mexico border. They shared their harrowing stories of rape, abuse, and exploitation along the route.

Libya has over 670,000 migrants according to UNHCR

Radio clip about WRC's new report on sexual violence against men and boys traveling the Central Mediterranean route to Europe starts at 18:30 minutes.

'More Than One Million Pains': Sexual violence on the way to Italy

Migrants and refugees who travel to Italy face a high risk of sexual violence both during the journey and after they arrive. Among the victims are men and boys, yet their stories are not often heard. A reportby the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) details some of their testimonies of suffering.

Read part 2of this story.

Alarm over ‘widespread and repeated’ sexual abuse of refugee men and boys in Libya

Daniel Johnson of UN News interviews Sarah Chynoweth, author of our new report “More Than One Million Pains”: Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys on the Central Mediterranean Route to Italy.

Where Do We Go From Here? Moving Forward with the Gender Equality Objective of the Call to Action Road Map

Gender-based violence is deeply rooted in gender inequality and women’s disempowerment. GBV is one of the primary obstacles to achieving gender equality, and gender inequality perpetuates norms that promote GBV. In order to effect change on GBV, gender equality programming must be an integral part of the work.

The Women's Refugee Commission has issued a brief that focuses on the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies, and how it addresses the linkages between gender inequality and gender-based violence (GBV).

Women’s Refugee Commission Congratulates Murad and Mukwege on Nobel Peace Prize

New York, NY Today’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony saw Ms. Nadia Murad and Dr. Denis Mukwege receive the prestigious award for their work on behalf of women and girls around the world. Murad is a Yazidi activist and genocide survivor, who campaigns on behalf of Yazidi women and girls held in captivity by ISIS in northern Iraq. Mukwege, head of the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has treated thousands of survivors of sexual violence and advocates for the end of the use of rape as a strategy and weapon of war.

Clearing the Fog around Cash and Gender-Based Violence

This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

You know how after a shower the bathroom mirror is foggy and when you raise your fist up to wipe away the condensation, all of a sudden the opaque gray dissolves into a clearer image? It’s not quite yet a crystal-clear reflection, but it’s close? This is where we are as a humanitarian community addressing the integration of cash-based interventions (CBIs) and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention, mitigation, and response.

Participation + Protection: Vital Links for Women

This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

Gender-based violence (GBV) knows no social, economic, or national boundaries. It is a symptom of deep-rooted, systemic gender inequality that keeps women, girls, and other marginalized people from exercising their human rights as equal participants in social and economic life. This is exacerbated in crisis and conflict settings.

New Report Suggests Myanmar Army Targeted Rohingya Men and Boys for Sexual Violence

New York, NY – The Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) today released a groundbreaking report with new data suggesting that the Myanmar Armed Forces targeted Rohingya men and boys for sexual violence as part of its all-out assault on the Rohingya community last year.

Nonprofit says Rohingya men also victims of sexual violence

The Women’s Refugee Commission said in a report released Thursday that 30 of the 89 Rohingya men and adolescent boys who participated in focus groups in Bangladesh “personally knew a Rohingya man or boy who had directly experienced conflict-related sexual violence in Myanmar.”

[LISTEN] How can we integrate GBV programming and cash-based interventions: Jordan Case Study

In this episode we explored further the idea of integration GBV programming and cash-based interventions by talking about the experience of Women's Refugee Commission, International Rescue Committee, and Mercy Corps in Jordan.

RDPP, UNICEF, UNFPA Announce Projects to Aid Survivors of Sexual Violence in Iraq

According to the Women’s Refugee Commission, “refugee women are extremely vulnerable to sexual assault and exploitation, including rape. Prevention of sexual violence, services for survivors and access to sexual and reproductive health care is critical in crisis situations when vulnerabilities are drastically increased.”

We’ve Come A Long Way

This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

Earlier this month, more than 200 sexual and reproductive health (SRH) professionals — from 50 countries and 100 agencies — gathered in Athens, Greece, for the 17th Meeting of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crises. By contrast, my first IAWG meeting, in 2013, was so small that we opened the meeting by having each attendee stand up and introduce themselves and their respective agencies. IAWG has come a long way in the last four years alone, and as I stood in front of 220 SRH colleagues, champions, advocates, and allies at the opening of this year’s meeting, its transformation could not have been more apparent.

Women’s Refugee Commission Urges International Community to Stand with Rohingya Women and Girls

NEW YORK, NY – In response to first-hand accounts by Rohingya women and girls fleeing Myanmar, and to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit today with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Executive Director Sarah Costa issued the following statement:

What Is The Rohingya Muslim Crisis? It’s A Feminist Issue

Female refugees are deeply vulnerable in any context. The Women's Refugee Commission points out that, even once women arrive in refugee camps, they remain severely disadvantaged, at risk of sexual violence and exploitation, likely deprived of education and healthcare, and forced into labor. For the Rohingya, however, they're simply moving from one context of violence and possible discrimination to another.

Why Trump's Travel Ban Hits Women the Hardest

Trump’s “Muslim ban” is a frontal assault on many universal human rights principles. But the latest temporary reinstatement of the order’s 120-day refugee ban – pending an anticipated October Supreme Court ruling – is already quietly undermining the most fundamental universal humanitarian rule: it puts women and children … last.

The Executive Order is being challenged primarily for discriminating against citizens of six Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – with an arbitrary 90-day travel ban (with arbitrary, potentially illegal exceptions for those with “bona fide relationships” to US residents.)

Family Planning Saves Lives And Promotes Resilience In Humanitarian Contexts

Globally, it is estimated that 128.6 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these individuals, approximately one-fourth are women and girls of reproductive age. Although family planning is one of the most life-saving, empowering, and cost-effective interventions for women and girls, it remains an overwhelming gap in emergency responses due to a lack of prioritisation and funding. Consequently, many women and girls are forced to contend with an unmet need for family planning and unplanned pregnancies in addition to the traumas of conflict, disaster, and displacement.

An Ounce Of (After-Sex) Prevention: At The Family Planning Summit, Let’s Talk About Emergency Contraception

Crossposted from The International Consortium for Emergency Contraception

To meet the global Family Planning 2020 goals, a full range of family planning methods must be available, including user-controlled, short-acting methods. The Guttmacher Institute’s analysis, Adding it Up, estimates that 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive method. Half of unmarried women with an unmet need for family planning report infrequent sex as the reason that they do not use a family planning method. A quarter of married women not using contraception fall into the same category. Not feeling themselves at high levels of risk, these women may wish to avoid the appointments and waiting times, dependence on providers, side effects, discomforts, and other commitments that long-acting contraceptive methods sometimes entail. Other women may not be using modern contraception because they are unaware of their options or are faced with inaccessibility due to distance barriers, poor health infrastructures, stock outs, or high prices. As well, many women are located in humanitarian and fragile settings where contraceptive access can be challenging.  For many women and girls not currently using a long-acting contraceptive method, a simple, discreet, user-controlled, low-commitment, one-time “on demand” form of contraception that can be accessed easily and quickly is a critically important option. This method already exists: emergency contraception.

Working with Refugee Women Engaged in Sex Work: Bringing a Peer Education Model and Mobile Clinics to Refugees in Cities

Interventions for Strengthening GBV Prevention and Response for Urban Refugees

In Kampala, the WRC partnered with Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU), an organization that provides integrated SRH and GBV services to Ugandans, including Ugandan sex workers. The goal was to expand their services to be inclusive of refugee women. This case study outlines two different interventions that were conducted: (1) a free mobile health clinic that went to refugee neighborhoods and provided a range of GBV and medical services, and (2) a peer education program conducted with refugee women engaged in sex work in Uganda—both in Kampala and in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement—that was designed to address information, service, and support gaps affecting these women’s health and safety.