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    WRC Reports Related to the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Children on the Move


    UNHCR, the WRC, and partners undertook the first-ever Global Refugee Youth Consultations (GRYC) to amplify youth voices in decisions that affect them and their communities. The GRYC included 1,267 young people who participated in 56 national or sub-national consultations held in 22 countries between October 2015 and June 2016. The final report, We Believe in Youth, outlines 10 challenges identified by refugee youth, Seven Core Actions for Refugee Youth, and recommendations for the full range of actors engaged in humanitarian response.

    Mainstreaming age, gender, and diversity

    Principles and Guidelines: Adolescent girls with disabilities and girls who live in households with persons with disabilities are often overlooked in humanitarian programming. This publication includes principles showing how to foster their participation and to strengthen protective assets. This mitigates their risk of violence, abuse and exploitation.

    Disability Inclusion in Gender-based Violence (GBV) Programming: The tools are designed to complement existing guidelines, protocols and tools for GBV prevention and response, and should not be used in isolation from these. GBV practitioners are encouraged to adapt the tools to their individual programs and contexts, and to integrate pieces into standard GBV tools and resources.

    There are significant gaps in evidence around effective strategies for GBV risk mitigation for refugees with disabilities in urban settings. Stigmatization, discrimination and isolation increase their risks.

    LGBTI refugees face higher levels of discrimination and violence, yet little attention has been paid to their GBV risks and what humanitarian actors can do to help mitigate them.

    For children and adolescent refugees, GBV risks take on new dimensions in urban settings -- within the home, at school, and while working.

    A guide for humanitarian practitioners to more effectively identify and address the unique needs of adolescent girls in displacement and crisis settings. It also provides donors and policymakers with guidance on how to make sustainable impact for adolescent girls.

    A study of how traditional practices around child marriage may change during conflict, and the factors that contribute to those practices.

    Operationalizing children’s rights

    Right to freedom of movement – detention, alternatives to detention, guardianship

    As the numbers of family units migrating together rises, so have the instances of arbitrary and harmful family separation, both before and upon reaching the U.S. border. Family unity must also be a respected principle in enforcement and removal operations by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    In the summer of 2015, a court ruled that government practices of detaining asylum-seeking families violate the 1997 Flores Settlement for unaccompanied children. The governments should immediately reverse their family detention policies, dismantle the facilities, and release children and their parents.

    Alternatives to detention are effective, humane, and comply with domestic and international law. Most asylum-seekers pose little flight risk.

    A joint complaint filed with the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) within DHS.

    In June 2014, President Obama referred to the unprecedented numbers of children and families fleeing violence in Central America as an “urgent humanitarian situation.” Since then, these asylum-seekers have been detained in prison-like detention facilities.

    In the summer of 2014, with an increase in the number of mothers and children fleeing violence and persecution in Central America, the Obama Administration returned to the widely discredited and costly practice of family detention. In this report, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), have collaborated to show the harm family detention causes and outline sensible alternatives.

    Family Detention is arbitrary, inhumane, and expensive. There is a better way. An infographic on the perils of family detention.

    A step-by-step guide to what happens when juveniles are apprehended and detained in the United States.

    Immigration enforcement is on the rise. Immigrant parents can and should take steps to prepare for the possibility of separation from their children. This will increase the likelihood that they can reunify with their children if they are detained or deported.

    Right to a nationality based on the either parent’s nationality, legal identity and documentation

    Laws in 27 countries worldwide prevent mothers from passing their nationality to their children on an equal basis with fathers in contraction with international law. More than 60 countries deny women equal right to confer nationality to non-national spouses. This discrimination results in significant human rights violations and unnecessary suffering for individuals and families.

    Right to education

    An analysis of undocumented children's impediments to education, including enrollment procedures and post-enrollment services.

    Right to healthcare including SRH

    The importance of sexual and reproductive health programs for displaced adolescents is receiving increased attention, however there is little documentation of programs that are successful in providing such services, including family planning. To address this gap, the Women’s Refugee Commission and Save the Children undertook a year-long exercise to map existing adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) programs that have been implemented since 2009 and document good practices.

    An examination of very young adolescents' (ages 10-14) sexual and reproductive health needs and risks. Based on research in Ethiopia, Lebanon, and Thailand.

    Solutions for children on the move

    Family unification

    • Upcoming WRC report to be released December 2016.

    Economic strengthening for child protection

    Economic Strengthening for Girls in Emergencies: A framework for how economic strengthening can mitigate girls’ risk of gender-based violence, outlining promising practices from both humanitarian and development contexts

    This review of 43 impact studies sought to methodically capture the known impacts of economic strengthening (ES) programs (microcredit, skills training, agricultural interventions, etc.) on the well-being of children (0-18 years) in crisis contexts in low-income countries. The review looked at effects on children from interventions engaging caregivers as beneficiaries compared to those targeting children themselves. The goals were to understand the types of approaches taken to economic strengthening that focus on improving children’s welfare, catalog the interventions that have been rigorously evaluated for their impacts on children, and identify gaps in knowledge.

    This study addresses the relationship between household livelihoods and children‘s well-being and protection in two districts of Western Uganda supported by the Western Uganda Bantwana Initiative (WUBP). The study involves a survey of a total of 246 households with orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). Sampling allowed comparison of households that had received services with households that had not. Findings suggest not only the value of economic strengthening activities to support the well-being of children, but also the potential importance of psychosocial support to households in complementing such provision.

    This report looks back at economic strengthening (ES) approaches used in family reintegration programs to capture lessons learned. It outlines common ES approaches, their advantages and disadvantages; offers case studies of innovative models; and recommends key principles for improved programming, monitoring, and the building of an evidence base. The report relied on interviews with practitioners and a review of program reports and tools employed in the field. The report recommends that agencies prioritize building internal capacity to design and implement effective ES programs and that donors and policymakers work to build the ES capacity of the child protection field. All stakeholders should prioritize building the evidence base through evaluation research, including experimental or longitudinal designs.

    This paper promotes discussion and advocacy around measuring the impacts of economic strengthening on children in order to improve their well-being and end the cycle of poverty. Economic strengthening aims both to address the short-term needs of poor people and to enable entire communities to overcome poverty and live healthy, productive lives. Growing evidence links children’s physical and psychological health with their future economic opportunities and potential. The paper proposes that economic strengthening programs seeking to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable households assess and monitor child-level outcomes and impacts, even when children or youth are not direct program participants.

    This guide is designed for practitioners designing or implementing economic strengthening (ES) programs in low-income settings that are sensitive to the protection needs and well-being of vulnerable children. The guide provides an overview of key learning about how ES can achieve better outcomes and impacts for children aged 0-18, both within and outside of household care, whether the direct program beneficiaries are adults or adolescents themselves. It provides guidance on mitigating threats to children’s well-being that may be an unintended consequence of ES interventions. Recommendations help practitioners have productive conversations within project teams and across programming sectors.

    This paper examines the links between cash transfers and the positive and negative outcomes for children – in particular, the role cash transfers have played in protecting children from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. The paper’s aim is to identify ways in which cash transfer activities could be designed to support the protection of children affected by emergencies. There is encouraging evidence of the positive impact of cash transfers on children from education, health, poverty and HIV and AIDS programs in developing countries. Many child protection concerns are brought about by poverty and a lack of resources, and this situation is exacerbated in chronic emergency and fragile state contexts. Therefore, cash injections should be a valuable tool for preventing and responding to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children. Staff in all sectors should remain mindful of the potential risks to children from cash transfers, and put in place mechanisms to protect them from harm.

    This tool enables humanitarian actors to make cash transfer programming more accountable to children, by giving guidance on how to prevent and respond to child protection incidents more effectively. With the goals of mitigating the increased risks of cash transfers for beneficiaries, the tool covers the full program cycle from preparation, planning, implementation, and monitoring.



    In times of war and its aftermath, legal structures that traditionally protect women and children, including formal and informal justice systems and respect for the rule of law, break down leaving them vulnerable to abuse including but not limited to rape, early and forced marriage and domestic violence. The guide summarizes an assessment of War Child Canada’s three-pronged legal protection model was implemented with South Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda and uses it to identify the most important lessons for ensuring legal protection mechanisms are in place at the onset of an emergency.

    An increasing majority of refugees live in cities and they face gender-based violence risks as a result of unmet needs and intersecting oppressions based on gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability among others. This new reality necessitates a monumental shift in humanitarian response.

    Participation of children

    UNHCR, the WRC, and partners undertook the first-ever Global Refugee Youth Consultations (GRYC) to amplify youth voices in decisions that affect them and their communities. The GRYC included 1,267 young people who participated in 56 national or sub-national consultations held in 22 countries between October 2015 and June 2016. The final report, We Believe in Youth, outlines 10 challenges identified by refugee youth, Seven Core Actions for Refugee Youth, and recommendations for the full range of actors engaged in humanitarian response.

    A resource for emergency response staff, this outlines an operational approach and recommendations that can help humanitarian sectors be more accountable to adolescent girls from the start of an emergency.


    Europe (not child focused but protection concerns relevant for children and youth as well)

    The closure of the Balkans route and the subsequent European Union-Turkey agreement to reduce the flow of refugees into Europe is nothing short of a protection and legal disaster for refugees, particularly women and girls.

    Germany and Sweden have welcomed unprecedented numbers of refugees in the face of ambivalence or outright objections from other European countries. The magnitude and speed of the migration led to short-term solutions that do not address, and in some cases perpetuate, the risks of violence women and girls experience along the route.

    Protection risks for women, girls and other vulnerable groups are present at every stage of the European refugee migration; and at every point where risk could be mitigated, the opportunity to do so is squandered.

    Refugee women and girls face grave protection risks and the current protection response by government agencies, humanitarian actors and CSOs is inadequate. This report contains recommendations for governments and the European Union, as well as humanitarian actors.