Women in Nepal


Is Germany Failing Female Refugees?

“These things that weren’t expensive to solve, that would’ve gone a long way to improving women’s safety and dignity, were completely overlooked,” says Marcy Hersh, WRC senior advocacy officer.

A Guide to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Legal Protection in Acute Emergencies


Refugee women and girls are exposed to epidemic levels of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) throughout their displacement; they are more affected by violence than any other population of women in the world.

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 atrocities and abuses of war and the resultant culture of violence can become ingrained, creating a culture of impunity.


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.

It is meant to help build the evidence base on what may be a replicable model, or set of practices, for survivor-centered SGBV legal protection services in emergency settings; expand understanding of positive practices and lessons learned; and help humanitarian actors gain the competencies needed to uphold their SGBV responsibilities.


The guide details War Child Canada's three-pronged legal protection model and lessons learned under each of the three areas:

Lessons learned

1) Legal Aid: Provision of legal aid services of women and child survivors of SGBV

  • Register as a local law firm, if possible.
  • Develop capacity to work within informal legal systems.
  • Liaise with and work through local structures.
  • Establish clear referral pathways.
  • Provide holistic support to survivors.
  • Plan for community-based part-time worker and volunteer roles and needs.
  • Ensure all active cases can be closed before exit.
  • Identify and plan for other local barriers.


2) Legal Training: Training and capacity building with legal duty bearers

  • Design trainings to meet the needs of different targeted duty bearers.
  • Ground the learning in traditional values and cultural norms and beliefs.
  • Structure trainings to fit the local context. 
  • Include a deliberate focus on training healthcare personnel.
  • Training of Trainers.
  • Evaluate training effectiveness.
  • Be mindful of boundaries of community volunteer roles. 


3) Community Awareness: Outreach and awareness-raising

  • Prioritize sensitization and community outreach and education.
  • Conduct mass awareness campaigns.
  • Address the needs of host communities.
  • Engage women as community SGBV leaders.
  • Include community members in awareness campaign design.
  • Emphasize supportive features of local law.
  • Plan for costs to participants.

Syria’s survivors: Are we doing enough for displaced women and children?

On International Women's Day, the Women's Refugee Commission reviews the humanitarian response and throws light on the harsh realities of refugee life

As the crisis in Syria rages into its fourth year with no political solution in sight, the human consequences grow ever more serious – with Syrians set to overtake Afghans as the world's largest refugee population.

International Women's Day (March 8) is a good opportunity to reflect on whether humanitarian organizations helping those fleeing the war-torn country are getting it right for the largest, and most vulnerable, group of refugees – women and children.

Read the blog on Huffington Post.

WRC Recommendations for the 2014 Commission on the Status of Women

The Women’s Refugee Commission welcomes the theme of the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women on “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls”. This thematic focus provides the international community with a significant opportunity to address the gaps in the ability of the Goals to engender development for the most marginalized women and girls, including those who are refugees or internally displaced, and create a transformative new development framework.  

Ebola: Nondiscriminatory Virus, Uneven Burden

Ebola crisis, Guinea

The Ebola virus is unique in many ways -- but not all. A series of facts about the current outbreak reflects a trend that the Women’s Refugee Commission consistently finds in its research and highlights in its advocacy: When crises happen, women and girls of all ages are uniquely vulnerable and disproportionately impacted. 

Fact: The Ebola virus, which is transmitted to people from wild animals and infects humans through human-to-human transmission, is an equal opportunist. The virus, for which no drug or vaccine has been proven effective, demonstrates no preference for male or female, young or old.

ICE Appoints Family Residential Center Federal Advisory Committee Members

ICE announced the list of appointments to the Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers. The committee’s charter requires that membership consist of up to 15 members, representing a variety of perspectives, to serve in one-year, two-year, or three-year terms.

After the Assault: Female Zones in Swedish Asylum Centers [Swedish]

Research by the Women's Refugee Commission reveals dangerous patterns of risk at refugee detention centers. [Article in Swedish]

The Quiet Crisis of Europe’s Pregnant Refugees

"Researchers at the Women's Refugee Commission found that women often left hospitals less than 24 hours after giving birth, some having had a Caesarean section."

Obama Wants to Let More Central American Migrants Apply for Asylum

"In the very beginning, we saw complete denial and refusal to acknowledge any eligibility for refugee status," Brané said. "They were really insistent for the first several years that this was a purely economic issue or that general violence didn't rise to the level of persecution. I think that is evolving."

Why the U.S. effort to stop Central Americans from surging across the border is failing

"There's no question that deterrence has not been effective, and why would it be if you're fleeing for your life?" said Michelle Brane. "If people are trapped in a burning house or a burning apartment, they're going to find a way out."

Private Prison Reveals the Truth About Obama Immigration Policy

“What’s really very clear under international and domestic law is that there will always be people who need to flee immediately for various reasons,” Brane told ThinkProgress. “Those people continue to have the right to seek asylum at our borders. You’re not going to stop people from jumping out of a burning house by locking the door."

The Neglected Stories Of Refugee Women

"We know that a great number of people who arrived in Greece, seeking to reunite with their families in other European countries, are women and children," -states Obser- "who are now trapped in a very unsafe situation."

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:

WRC Signs Joint Statement on Women and Girls Ahead of UNGA Refugee Summit

The Women's Refugee Commission is among the 42 grassroots women-led civil society organisations, human rights and humanitarian agencies, that has signed a joint statement which outlines recommendations for commitments by states attending the upcoming Global Refugee and Migrant Summits, to ensure the protection and safety of refugee women and girls.

Women’s Refugee Commission: Refugee Protection Must be Gender Specific

"We are looking for an explicit, detailed commitment to protect all displaced women and girls from gender-based violence while in transit and upon reaching their destinations. We are also calling for expansion of legal and safe employment opportunities that leverage the capacity of refugee women and youth to sustain and protect themselves and their families." - Marcy Hersh, WRC senior advocacy officer

Foni Joyce: Full Remarks at UN Summit for Refugee and Migrants

Photo credit: Marcy Hersh

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.

Germany Makes Refugee Shelters Safer for Women – But Problems Remain

“Often there are no separate living spaces for women and families and no sex-separated latrines or shower facilities,” according to the Women's Refugee Commission's recent report. “Women and girls are vulnerable to rape, assault and other violence in these facilities.”

Five Questions About the Historic UN Summits on Refugees and Migrants

"The summits provided a good opportunity to highlight what’s going on, but we were disappointed that there were not more concrete, tangible commitments made that would make a real difference on the ground for refugees and migrants." - Sarah Costa, Executive Director of WRC

CLARA: How a livelihoods and risk assessment tool is supporting women’s economic empowerment

In Partnership with the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) Oxfam in Iraq has piloted the Cohort Livelihoods and Risk Assessment (CLARA) tool. In June 2015 Oxfam and the Women's Refugee Comission (WRC) used this innovative participatory research method intended to help learn more about the challenges facing women - and in particular challenges to women's economic empowerment - in the northernmost district of Diyala governorate (Manell and Roberson 2015).

An outsider takes charge of the Border Patrol — and yes, he'll wear the green uniform

“The really tricky part is to make sure he has buy-in from the rank and file and the boots on the ground who will be following his leadership,” said Michelle Brané, an immigrant rights advocate at the New York-based Women's Refugee Commission, who met with Morgan last month.