• Disabilities

    Celebrating Ten Years of Disability Work at WRC

    “I think it is important to share with you that I am a woman who has a disability. This doesn’t stop me though... I feel I have a very important job to do. I am working to make women and girls safer… those who are not always included in activities, those who are often forgotten about. I can remember times when that was me... Now, I am very active, I am a leader in our community… and I work as a social worker. I feel I have valuable things to add and that I can advocate for [them] because I understand their needs.” (Mieraf, My’ani Camp)

    Helpdesk Report: Women and girls with disabilities in conflict and crises

    What risks/vulnerabilities do women and girls with disabilities affected by conflict and crises face? What is the available evidence on interventions to support women and girls with disabilities affected by conflict/crises?d

    11 Experts to Watch on Refugee Health

    Refugee health has been called “a public health crisis of this century,” needing as much attention and collaboration over resources as global epidemics such as polio and HIV/AIDS.

    From war trauma to women’s health, refugees have a complex spectrum of medical needs, bringing challenges for displaced populations, their host countries and aid organizations.

    Many refugees who have fled war or ethnic and political violence are exposed to exploitation and abuse along their migration route, leaving them vulnerable to mental health issues such as depression, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some children born in conflict zones may have to deal with toxic stress for their entire lives.

    Women's Refugee Commission at 10th Session of the Conference of State Parties

    The Women's Refugee Commission will be participating in the 10th Session of the Conference of State Parties (COSP10) to the CRPD taking place at the U.N. Headquarters from June 13 - 15, 2017. 

    Syria: Seven Years, 11 Million People, No End in Sight

    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 at CSW61

    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.

    Protecting Women Refugees as Part of International Women’s Day

    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.

    Advocating for the Disabled

    More than 50 million refugees live in the world today, and the World Health Organization estimates there are several million people with disabilities among them. About half of the world’s 65 million children with disabilities do not attend school. Fortunately, the problem has not gone unnoticed. Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the wellbeing of all is included in the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. And thankfully, organizations like Disability Rights International, the Women’s Refugee Commission and Handicap International are advocating for the disabled on a global scale.

    NGOs Call for Better Protection for Female Refugees in Europe

    This year more than 170,000 people have risked their lives attempting to reach Europe from Turkey via Greece. Their journeys are perilous and they face uncertain futures when they reach Europe. But for women, the risks are amplified because of inadequate facilities at reception centers. Yet governments and humanitarian organizations are failing to meet their specific needs.

    “It is traumatic for women to stay in a variety of places and detention centers. It can be unsafe and they are unable to get access to protection and services,” Sarah Costa, executive director of the WRC, tells Equal Times.

    WRC, along with other women’s rights organizations, are pressuring the EU to change its approach. In June, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) partnered with the WRC to launch #WomensVoices, a campaign to raise awareness of the situation facing the women and girls in Europe who are fleeing conflict. The aim is to influence decision-makers, through a series of recommendations, events, and members’ networking across Europe, to put violence against refugee women on the European political agenda.

    Five Reasons Why Disability Matters in a Crisis

    As social and community structures break down during a crisis, protection threats build up. In these scenarios, people with disabilities are at a much higher risk of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, in part because they are often more isolated and have less access to protection services. Research from the Women’s Refugee Commission shows that women and girls with disabilities are particularly at risk of sexual and gender-based violence. However, they may not be able to access support for survivors due to difficulties in reaching services and communicating their needs, or for fear that their accounts will not be taken seriously.

    We Stand With Refugee Women and Girls

    At a time when violence has forced record numbers of people to flee their homes, the Women’s Refugee Commission urges the incoming Administration and Congress to maintain strong bipartisan support for life-saving humanitarian assistance and unwavering leadership on the protection of human rights, including the right to asylum.

    VIDEO: The Needs of Refugee Women and Children in the Global Humanitarian Crisis

    In this powerful talk, executive director Sarah Costa explains the work of the Women's Refugee Commission, and discusses the current crisis. The numbers are staggering: one in 122 people across the world have been forced to flee, and the majority are women and children. The average length of displacement is 20 years. What can be done to help?

    Females with disabilities experience discrimination on multiple levels

    The issue was discussed at a training titled 'Strengthening the Role of Women with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action' organised by National Forum of Women with Disabilities (NFWWD) and Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP) with the support of Women Refugee Commission. Women with disabilities from KP, Punjab and Sindh participated in the training.

    Media Advisory: WRC at 71st UN General Assembly Events

    As world leaders gather at the United Nations for the first high-level summit on Refugess and migrants, the Women’s refugee commission asserts that all responses to refugees and migrants must protect the rights and improve the lives of women, children, and youth.

     

    WHAT: New York, NY - On Monday, September 19, 2016, the 71st UN General Assembly will convene Heads of State and leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector at the first high-level summit focused on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. This landmark meeting aims to bring countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach. 

    WHEN: Friday, September 16th through Tuesday, September 20th. WRC will support the following events listed below:

    “Working to improve our own futures”: Strengthening Networks of Women with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action

    Refugee women and girls with disabilities participate in a planning workshop with  UNHCR and partners in Bangladesh (c) WRC/Emma Pearce

    More than 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes because of violence and conflict; at least 9 million of them are likely to be persons with disabilities. The vast majority of people displaced by conflict are women, children, and youth.

    Over and over, we see that humanitarian crises result in enormous risks to women and girls in the form of rape, assault, intimate partner violence, early marriage, and all forms of exploitation.

    The risks, dangers, and challenges are worse for displaced women and girls with disabilities.

    Adolescent Girls with Disabilities in Humanitarian Settings: “I Am Not ‘Worthless’—I Am a Girl with a Lot to Share and Offer”

    Emma Pearce, Kathryn Paik and Omar J. Robles
    Girlhood Studies

    Adolescent girls with disabilities face multiple intersecting and often mutually reinforcing forms of discrimination and oppression, which are exacerbated in situations of crisis. In crisis situations, family and community structures break down, while traditional and social norms disintegrate, all of which affect adolescent girls with disabilities in unique and devastating ways. Drawing on the Women’s Refugee Commission’s work, including personal narratives collected from girls with disabilities, in this report we review how age, gender, disability and crisis influence identity and power. This report outlines principles for including girls with disabilities in adolescent girls’ programming, promoting safe access to humanitarian assistance, and mitigating the risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation.

    Read the full article in Girlhood Studies.

    Refugees with Disabilities At Highest Risk of Gender-based Violence

    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.

    Intersecting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Disability in Humanitarian Settings: Risks, Needs, and Capacities of Refugees with Disabilities in Kenya, Nepal, and Uganda

    Persons with disabilities have historically been deprived of their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) rights. Little is known, however, about the situation for women, men, and adolescents with disabilities in humanitarian settings. The Women’s Refugee Commission led a participatory research project with partners to explore the risks, needs, and barriers for refugees with disabilities to access SRH services, and the practical ways in which these challenges could be addressed.

    Findings showed that refugees with disabilities demonstrated varying degrees of awareness around SRH, especially regarding the reproductive anatomy, family planning, and sexually transmitted infections. Among barriers to accessing services, lack of respect by providers was reported as the most hurtful. Pregnant women with disabilities were often discriminated against by providers and scolded by caregivers for becoming pregnant and bearing children; marital status was a large factor that determined if a pregnancy was accepted. Risks of sexual violence prevailed across sites, especially for persons with intellectual impairments. The ability of women with disabilities to exercise their SRH rights was mixed. Refugees with disabilities showed a mixed understanding of their own rights in relationships and in the pursuit of opportunities.

    Findings speak to the need to realize the SRH rights of refugees with disabilities and build their longer-term SRH capacities.

    Read the full article in Sexuality & Disability.

    Invisible Women Must be Included: WRC at CSW59/Beijing+20

    WRC at CSW59/Beijing+20

    The 2015 Commission on the Status of Women demonstrated great strides since the Beijing Platform for Action was adopted. Here are some of the most important issues.

    When the Definition of ‘Life-Threatening’ Injury Undermines War Refugees’ Health Care

    "While Nadine's injuries keep her from being able to leave the house, adequately look after her household, or take on a job, they fall outside the narrow definition of "life-threatening" that donors have adopted." As a result, refugees with disabilities are left more vulnerable than ever.