Violence against women and girls collecting firewood is spiking in and around the refugee camp in Tanzania where more than 100,000 Burundian refugees have sought safety in recent months.
Driven by stigma or the urge to protect, families tend to hide those with disabilities. Discrimination and isolation intensifiy the pervasive risk of gender-based violence. By focusing on physical and social inclusion, humanitarians can mitigate this isolation.
Gender-based violence does not start with the conflict, though it increases in incidence and, often, in savagery. This year, the Women's Refugee Commission helped launch the Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies, a multi-stakeholder initiative that rightfully puts GBV on par with necessities like water and shelter.
Women fleeing Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have been subjected to a constant threat of violence, including threats, assault, murder and rape and their governments are unable to protect them. The violence these women flee is as horrific as any in the world.
If distance from bombs is all refugees have, they will eventually look for more opportunity, even if it means making a perilous journey. The question should not be which countries can afford to provide these refugees with their basic needs but, rather, how the world can provide opportunity to people forced to flee their homes and lives through no fault of their own.
Girls can be some of the hardest-to-reach people in the world–especially amid a humanitarian crisis. Displacement shouldn’t limit the potential or deflate the aspirations of the 250,000 adolescent girls who have fled Syria. They deserve a better story – it’s their right and our responsibility.
Both Kurdish and Arab women in Iraq prefer – or are pressured by their male family members – to stay close to home, limiting their opportunities to safely generate income, even while the country's conflict has significantly, negatively impacted most of the livelihoods in this region.
Around the world, women fleeing conflict and violence are undertaking perilous journeys during which they are often raped and exploited. And the violence directed against them doesn’t end when they stop running. But we haven’t seen these women much. They’re outside the frame of the journalists’ photos and they are not prioritized in the emergency response.
In 2008, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) set into motion an initiative to provide post-rape care to women caught in some of the world’s most dangerous circumstances.
The women – and girls – most at risk for preventable maternal mortality currently live or soon will in fragile or humanitarian settings. In fact, in the next 15 years, the years covered by the Sustainable Development Goals, more than 60 percent of preventable maternal deaths will claim these women.