Women and girls make up nearly half of the 258 million people worldwide who have crossed international borders to escape danger or pursue opportunity. Amidst unprecedented levels of forced displacement – with 68.5 million people driven from their homes by the end of 2017 – about half of refugees, too, are women and girls.
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“His verbal attacks were merciless,” says Gemila, a 28-year-old Syrian refugee, about her husband. UNFPA Turkey is running safe spaces funded by the European Commission - Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations - ECHO to help survivors of gender-based violence like Gemila.
Refugee women and girls face extraordinary hardships. They endure grave risks and often brutal violence, and many are thrust into poverty. But they can also face another, more intimate, hardship, one that is seldom discussed - the effects of exile on their sexual and reproductive health.
Me Me, a women's protection & empowerment counsellor in a UNFPA-supported women’s and girls’ centre in a Rohingya camp in Myanmar, shares how their educational sessions on health & human rights are helping uplift girls in their community.
While the number of child marriages occurring among Syrian refugees in Iraq is not available, research conducted among Syrian refugees elsewhere suggests a link between the poverty and instability facing displaced families like Aysheh’s, and rising pressure for girls to get married. Feeling helpless, Aysheh sought help from the UNFPA-supported Zahrat Al-Yasamin women’s social centre in the camp.
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.
DAMASCUS, Syria - Fatima and Rasha welcomed new children into the world on the same day - an experience that would be completely unremarkable if not for their circumstances. Both women are living in uncertainty after fleeing the conflict in northern Syria, part of a wave of displacements that continues to grow.
On a bleak, cold day in late February, hundreds of refugees, bundled in winter coats and carrying bulging bags and baskets, stream into the Tebanovce transit centre, stationed on the border between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia.
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.