UNHCR urges support to address worsening gender-based violence impact on displaced women and girls
The following statement is attributable to UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
One in five refugee or internally displaced women have faced sexual violence. Today, given the prolonged human rights and socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know this situation has only worsened.
From Afghanistan, Colombia, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and beyond, the deleterious impact of conflict, COVID-19 and displacement has been felt acutely by women and girls.
Since March last year, we have reported a global surge in domestic violence, child marriages, trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse as a result of the pandemic. Some hard-won gains in advancing gender equality have also been eroded.
Addressing gender-based violence requires a concerted response involving national authorities, humanitarian partners, civil society, donors and forcibly displaced women, girls, men and boys themselves.
As we mark the 30th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence this year, we call on national and local authorities to do more to protect the rights of refugee, internally displaced and stateless women and girls and prevent these egregious violations.
Forcibly displaced and stateless people must also be included in all national responses to gender-based violence. Survivors must be supported to heal and recover, and perpetrators must be brought to justice.
Funding for humanitarian programmes that combat gender-based violence – including women and girls' empowerment projects as well as response services for survivors – has to be scaled up.
Support must especially be channelled to those who work on the front lines – including displaced women-led organizations and groups.
Ending gender-based violence requires action to match rhetoric.