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  • Gender-based Violence

    [LISTEN] How can we integrate GBV programming and cash-based interventions: Jordan Case Study

    In this episode we explored further the idea of integration GBV programming and cash-based interventions by talking about the experience of Women's Refugee Commission, International Rescue Committee, and Mercy Corps in Jordan.

    RDPP, UNICEF, UNFPA Announce Projects to Aid Survivors of Sexual Violence in Iraq

    According to the Women’s Refugee Commission, “refugee women are extremely vulnerable to sexual assault and exploitation, including rape. Prevention of sexual violence, services for survivors and access to sexual and reproductive health care is critical in crisis situations when vulnerabilities are drastically increased.”

    We’ve Come A Long Way

    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.

    Women’s Refugee Commission Urges International Community to Stand with Rohingya Women and Girls

    NEW YORK, NY – In response to first-hand accounts by Rohingya women and girls fleeing Myanmar, and to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit today with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Women’s Refugee Commission’s Executive Director Sarah Costa issued the following statement:

    What Is The Rohingya Muslim Crisis? It’s A Feminist Issue

    Female refugees are deeply vulnerable in any context. The Women's Refugee Commission points out that, even once women arrive in refugee camps, they remain severely disadvantaged, at risk of sexual violence and exploitation, likely deprived of education and healthcare, and forced into labor. For the Rohingya, however, they're simply moving from one context of violence and possible discrimination to another.

    Why Trump's Travel Ban Hits Women the Hardest

    Trump’s “Muslim ban” is a frontal assault on many universal human rights principles. But the latest temporary reinstatement of the order’s 120-day refugee ban – pending an anticipated October Supreme Court ruling – is already quietly undermining the most fundamental universal humanitarian rule: it puts women and children … last.

    The Executive Order is being challenged primarily for discriminating against citizens of six Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – with an arbitrary 90-day travel ban (with arbitrary, potentially illegal exceptions for those with “bona fide relationships” to US residents.)

    Family Planning Saves Lives And Promotes Resilience In Humanitarian Contexts

    Globally, it is estimated that 128.6 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these individuals, approximately one-fourth are women and girls of reproductive age. Although family planning is one of the most life-saving, empowering, and cost-effective interventions for women and girls, it remains an overwhelming gap in emergency responses due to a lack of prioritisation and funding. Consequently, many women and girls are forced to contend with an unmet need for family planning and unplanned pregnancies in addition to the traumas of conflict, disaster, and displacement.

    An Ounce Of (After-Sex) Prevention: At The Family Planning Summit, Let’s Talk About Emergency Contraception

    Crossposted from The International Consortium for Emergency Contraception

    To meet the global Family Planning 2020 goals, a full range of family planning methods must be available, including user-controlled, short-acting methods. The Guttmacher Institute’s analysis, Adding it Up, estimates that 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive method. Half of unmarried women with an unmet need for family planning report infrequent sex as the reason that they do not use a family planning method. A quarter of married women not using contraception fall into the same category. Not feeling themselves at high levels of risk, these women may wish to avoid the appointments and waiting times, dependence on providers, side effects, discomforts, and other commitments that long-acting contraceptive methods sometimes entail. Other women may not be using modern contraception because they are unaware of their options or are faced with inaccessibility due to distance barriers, poor health infrastructures, stock outs, or high prices. As well, many women are located in humanitarian and fragile settings where contraceptive access can be challenging.  For many women and girls not currently using a long-acting contraceptive method, a simple, discreet, user-controlled, low-commitment, one-time “on demand” form of contraception that can be accessed easily and quickly is a critically important option. This method already exists: emergency contraception.

    Working with Refugee Women Engaged in Sex Work: Bringing a Peer Education Model and Mobile Clinics to Refugees in Cities

    Interventions for Strengthening GBV Prevention and Response for Urban Refugees

    In Kampala, the WRC partnered with Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU), an organization that provides integrated SRH and GBV services to Ugandans, including Ugandan sex workers. The goal was to expand their services to be inclusive of refugee women. This case study outlines two different interventions that were conducted: (1) a free mobile health clinic that went to refugee neighborhoods and provided a range of GBV and medical services, and (2) a peer education program conducted with refugee women engaged in sex work in Uganda—both in Kampala and in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement—that was designed to address information, service, and support gaps affecting these women’s health and safety.

    New Strategies to Address GBV in Urban Humanitarian Settings

    Displacement is increasing dramatically and it is increasingly urban. Today 65.6 million people around the world are displaced by conflict and 60% of those who are refugees have found refuge in urban areas. This necessitates a re-think of humanitarian service delivery including for the prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV). Specifically, it is imperative that we all dig deep to better understand, prevent, and respond to GBV in urban settings.

    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. 

    Budgets are Moral Documents and this One Fails

    Budgets are moral documents and the President’s budget request released this week is a moral and practical failure for displaced women, children, and youth around the world.

    As the White House delivered President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request to Congress this week, Ambassador Nikki Haley – who is on her first international trip as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations – visited the Za’atari camp in Jordan to see how refugees there are coping. Clearly moved by the bleak setting, Haley told reporters "We're the number one donor here through this crisis. That's not going to stop. We're not going to stop funding this." Referencing a convoy of trucks carrying food aid, Haley said "This is all in the name of our Syrian brothers and sisters… We want you to feel like the U.S. is behind you.”

    Tightening of Borders Makes Women Invisible Along Balkan Refugee Route

    As borders have tightened along the western Balkan route to Europe, more lone female refugees are arriving in Serbia having experienced violence and trafficking. Many who want to continue their journeys are using even riskier routes and never appear in official data.

    Advocating for Gender-Based Violence Victims

    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. 

    Stranded in Greece, Women Refugees Live With Fear and Hunger

    As Germany starts sending newly arrived refugees back to Greece, we speak to Marcy Hersh of the Women’s Refugee Commission about the tens of thousands of women refugees stuck in Greek detention centers, suffering from violence, unsanitary conditions and food shortages. 

    It’s been almost a year since border closures and a controversial European Union deal with Turkey shut out refugees fleeing to Germany and Scandinavia. Today, more than 60,000 refugees remain stranded in Greece and other parts of Eastern Europe – almost half of them women. Many of them had hoped to reunify with male family members who had traveled ahead, making the harrowing journey across Europe.

    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.

    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.

    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:

    Women’s Refugee Commission Responds to Report that DHS Considered Use of 100,000 National Guard Troops to Target Immigrants

    Washington, DC -- According to a report published by the Associated Press this morning, the Department of Homeland Security considered the use of up to 100,000 National Guard troops to round up undocumented immigrants. This follows a week of indiscriminate roundups of innocent immigrants, including a domestic abuse victim most likely reported to officials by her abuser.

    In addition, the draft memo includes instructions in alignment with the President’s Executive Order including expansive use of local law enforcement, extreme and over-expansive use of immigration detention, blanket use of procedures that limit or preclude due process and policies that may endanger the lives of women and children seeking protection at our borders.