Halima Mohamud Mohamed is a 20 year old Somali woman living in the Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda. She works as a youth ambassador, and helps the most vulnerable in her community, especially survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). For her work, Mohamed is being honored, along with two other youth refugees, at the WRC’s Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon on May 4.
Malual Bol Kiir is a 23 year old South Sudanese refugee now living in Uganda. Kiir is one of three refugee youth being honored at the WRC’s Voices of Courage luncheon on May 4, for their commitment to finding solutions for the global refugee crisis.
Kiir was forced to flee South Sudan for the first time when he was just 7 years old. “I was in a government boarding school where the teachers had guns to protect the students,” he recalls.
In March, the Syrian conflict enters into its seventh year. This protracted war has created nearly 5 million refugees and 6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). In Lebanon, one in five people in the country are Syrian refugees; there are more than 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan; and there are more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey.
Since 2013, the WRC has been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts to research and develop guidance for the women, children, and youth refugees affected by the Syrian crisis.
Women's Refugee Commission will be participating in the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
This year’s theme is women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, with an additional focus on empowering indigenous women.
The sessions begin on Monday, March 13 and will run through March 24, 2017.
International Women’s Day, is a global celebration of women everywhere. It is a rallying call—both for reflection on how far we’ve come, and for accelerating momentum towards gender equality. Core to achieving our agenda is the prevention of all forms of violence against women. Despite notable progress over the decades, thousands of women have recently been dealt a serious and potentially deadly setback: The women who are refugees and asylum seekers looking to the U.S. for safety and protection.
Violence against women is still endemic, and this is particularly the case in humanitarian crises. It cannot be overstated: Women who are fleeing conflict and persecution face heightened risks of gender-based violence, including sexual assault, early and forced marriage, female genital cutting, trafficking and exploitation. Such pervasive violence incurs very high costs for individual women, their families, and their communities. It stymies progress to achieving gender equality and internationally agreed upon development goals.
On the campaign trail, President Trump promised to “protect women” and stated, “I love women. I respect women. I cherish women.”
I beg to differ on at least five fronts:
Imagine a boy, 13 or 14, dashing home from school, his mother there to greet him and give him a quick snack before he rushes back out to kick the soccer ball with his friends in the dusty street. Like most boys that age, he spends the requisite time on school work but lives for those precious hours after school and before dinner to spend with his friends. His body is changing. His interests are evolving. His world is full of possibility.
Upon first glance, gender-based violence (GBV) and laws pertaining to citizenship may seem worlds apart. In fact, there are significant links between women’s nationality rights and GBV – links that must be recognized and addressed to combat the root causes of gender-based violence.
Nationality laws determine the ability to acquire, change, and retain one’s citizenship, as well as the ability to pass citizenship to children and non-national spouses. Though traditionally the nationality of wives and children was based on the nationality of the husband/father, over the 20th century most countries reformed their nationality laws (and gave women the right to vote!), enabling women and men to confer citizenship on an equal basis.
However, today 27 countries still deny mothers the equal right to confer nationality on their children. Roughly 50 countries maintain other gender-discriminatory provisions in their nationality laws, such as denying women the right to equally confer nationality on spouses, or stripping women of their citizenship due to their marital status.
Recently Hurricane Matthew pummeled Haiti with brutal wind and rain, leaving the country and its people reeling from yet another disaster. Not yet fully recovered from the horrific 2010 earthquake, Haiti now faces difficult years ahead rebuilding infrastructure, homes, and livelihoods.
On Monday, September 19, 2016, Foni Joyce, a young South Sudanese refugee woman and participant in the Global Refugee Youth Consultations led by Women's Refugee Commission and UNHCR, addressed world leaders at the first high-level summit focused on “Addressing the Large Movements of Refugees” at the 71st UN General Assembly. Her full remarks are available below.
On this World Humanitarian Day when record numbers of people have been forced to flee for their lives and humanitarian workers are also under siege, it is hard to find reason for hope. But we don't have to look far.