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  • Refugee women’s path to equality and self-reliance

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    For more than 100 years, March 8 has been celebrated as International Women’s Day. And for more than 100 years, the day has provided a chance to take stock of the status of women and women’s rights around the world.

    While it’s indisputable that the situation has improved for some women, there’s still a long way to go before women everywhere are recognized for their strength, their abilities, and their leadership capacities.

    Refugee Youth Participate in UNHCR Dialogue on Protection in Urban Settings

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium

    Members of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Global Youth Advisory Council (GYAC) have been in Geneva this week to attend the 11th UNHCR High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection. The two days of discussions were dedicated to the protection and assistance of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and stateless persons in urban settings, with a particular focus on cities.

    Clearing the Fog around Cash and Gender-Based Violence

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    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

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    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.

    Changing How We Define Success: In Pursuit of #BetterLivesNow for Refugees

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    A young woman living in a desolate refugee camp, spending hours waiting on line for rations of food and medicine. Flimsy plastic tents stretching as far as the eye can see.

    These are some of the more recognizable images that come to mind when one thinks of refugees. These images are real, and are an important part of the humanitarian challenge and response. Yet with more refugees than ever living in cities rather than camp settings, often for as long as a decade or two, today’s refugee experience can look quite different.

    Out of Excuses: The Time is Now to Bring Women with Disabilities into Humanitarian Response

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    When a population is seen as vulnerable, the immediate instinct of the development and humanitarian community often is to protect. But what if, instead of protection, the instinct was to include, to engage, and to leverage people’s skills and capacities?

    Groundbreaking Arab League declaration heightens global momentum to end gender discrimination in nationality laws

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    This blog was cross-posted from the European Network on Statelessness.

    Amid the tragedy and uncertainty of today’s global challenges, there have been several important developments in the fight for gender equality in the past year. Importantly, these wins do more than advance gender justice; they help to address the root causes of some of the greatest challenges we face today. From the reform of rape laws in Jordan and Lebanon, to the banning of child marriage in Malawi, women’s long-awaited right to drive in Saudi Arabia, the increasingly international #MeToo movement to combat gender-based harassment and violence, Iceland’s new pay equality law, and women’s marches around the world, demanding equality and rejecting misogynist political leaders; women and men are demanding an end to discriminatory laws and practices, and creating a more just, secure, and peaceful world as they do it. This is especially true of the fight to end gender discrimination in nationality laws, which has seen momentum for reform building in multiple regions, and notable progress achieved in the past year.

    Getting Cash Right for Women Refugees

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Everyone is talking about cash these days. Cash assistance is being significantly scaled up across the humanitarian system as the preferred modality of assistance, where markets allow. And rightly so. Cash is known to enable household choice and dignity; it is faster to deliver; cash transfers can be more efficiently delivered than in-kind assistance (like tarps, mattresses, bags of rice, or maize); and assists local economies in recovering from shocks. All the big operational players — UNHCR, International Rescue Committee, World Vision, are increasing the proportion of assistance they deliver via cash transfers. As these cash providers zip forward on this cash bus, they must get the foundation right.

    We’ve Come A Long Way

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    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.

    Our Detention System Is Broken.

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    “…I know I lost all my rights when I arrived to this country. … It does not seem right to me that, knowing if a person is returned, she will be killed, that the U.S. returns the person anyway.” Rosa, Detained in El Paso

    It does not seem right to us at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) either. The United States should be a country where rights are protected, not taken away.