Refugees, asylum-seekers, and the stateless make up one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the world. But within this group, there are people who are even more vulnerable – the elderly, children, and people who are ill and physically challenged.
Children are at particular risk, and require special attention to survive due to their vulnerability to physical and psychological trauma, and the developmental needs that must be met to ensure that they grow and develop normally.
Stripped of the protection of home, and facing the threats of endless journeys, potential harassment,, and sexual abuse, women are also highly vulnerable. Because of gender discrimination, they are often excluded from decision-making about their own lives and families, and therefore are unable to ensure that their rights will be respected.
Refugees suffering from illness, in particular those infected by HIV/AIDS, may be the most vulnerable group. Stigmatized by their disease, these people are often persecuted and discriminated against to the point, living in dignity and respect becomes a challenge.
Fighting for the rights of vulnerable people is a priority for UNHCR, and all of its programmes, protection activities, and planning reflect this concern. See the links below to learn more about UNHCR programmes aimed at helping the vulnerable.