You are here

Refugees & IDPs


'SheFighter' Self-Defence Stokes Self-Confidence in Refugee Women Refugee women are at heightened risk for gender-based violence during the difficult experience of forced displacement. In Jordan, one group is getting a chance to learn self-defense a "SheFighter" technique that also focusses on building the women's self-esteem.



Dalia Asinde was married 16 years ago in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She was 22 and in love, she said. But her husband soon became violent - and relentless. She lost count of the beatings, insults and torments he delivered.



Khin Khin shudders when she thinks about walking in the dark from her shelter to the shared toilet. "I never feel safe to go to the toilet at night," she said. In Myanmar, 1.5 million people have no toilet in their home or yard.


Following a visit to Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have settled in makeshift camps, a United Nations envoy has called for enhanced measures to protect and assist victims of sexual violence among the displaced population.

A migrant gestures from behind the bars of a cell at a detention centre in Libya, Tuesday 31 January. Photo: UNICEF/Romenzi
UN News Centre

A senior United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) official is calling the routes from sub-Saharan Africa into Libya and across the sea to Europe one of the "world's deadliest and most dangerous for children and women," as the agency reported that nearly half of the women and children interviewed after making the voyage were raped.

UN Women

"When my husband beat me, I came here," said Bu Meh (alias), a Karenni mother of five from Myanmar. She was referring to a community-based multi-sectoral project that works to end violence against women and supports survivors in one of the many Karenni refugee camps dotted along the Thailand-Myanmar border.

In view of addressing gender-based violence (GBV) holistically, in 2009, UNRWA adopted a multisectoral approach informed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines for GBV Interventions in Humanitarian Settings. Work on addressing GBV has focused on the building of referral systems in the five fields of UNRWA operations, including training staff, ensuring that survivors have access to internal as well as external services, and awareness-raising at the community level.


A few metres away, 22,000 people shelter under the protection of UN peacekeepers, aware that if they step outside of the razor wire fencing, their lives would be in instant danger.


NABATIEH, Lebanon - In late 2013, Haneen, now 14, fled Syria with her parents and 10 siblings. As her family made its way to the Turkish border, her father sustained injuries that left him paralyzed. Fearing he could no longer feed his 11 children or protect his daughters, he married Haneen, then 13, off to a middle-aged Turkish man.


Guatemala - Repeatedly shaken down by gang members for a weekly US$30 protection payment he could barely afford, Salvadoran bus driver Javier filed a complaint with the police. A family man with two teenage daughters, he recalls waking up at 3:00 am the next day with a knot of fear in his stomach.