Presentation on theme: "Rights of Refugee Women – Victims of Violence Birgit Einzenberger UNHCR Office in Austria www.unhcr.orgwww.unhcr.org – www.unhcr.atwww.unhcr.at 11 th WAVE."— Presentation transcript:
Rights of Refugee Women – Victims of Violence Birgit Einzenberger UNHCR Office in Austria www.unhcr.orgwww.unhcr.org – www.unhcr.atwww.unhcr.at 11 th WAVE Conference Vienna, 24 September 2009
2 Refugee women and girls – victims of violence May become victims of violence when living in our societies Have normally fled violence in their home countries Have often encountered violence on their flight to Europe Violence affects all stages of their displacement cycle!
3 Refugee women and girls – they flee violence Persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group (including in UNHCR’s view sex/gender) or political opinion – 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention War and civil unrest – extended refugee definition and notion of ”subsidiary protection” in the EU Severe gender discrimination incl. gender-based violence is a contributing cause for displacement!
4 Refugee women and girls – where do they flee too? Women and girls represent on average 50 per cent in any refugee population Significant geographical differences -Half or more of displaced persons in regions of origin, notably Africa (e.g. 55 per cent in Chad) but also parts of Europe (e.g. Georgia and Montenegro) -Only a third of asylum claimants in the EU Discrimination and human rights violations prevent especially women-headed households from reaching European asylum space!
5 Women and girl asylum-seekers – obstacles to refugee protection Insufficiently sensitive procedures may prevent disclosure of flight reasons Traditional refugee law instruments (including the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention) are silent on women and girls But since 1980s increasing recognition that gender-related persecution is covered by them Still gender-related persecution in Europe thus far only inadequately recognized!
6 Violence against asylum-seeking and refugee women and girls in Europe Increased vulnerability and limited access to support structures due to: -Detention, refugee camps, emergency accommodation -Separation from their families and communities -Inadequate information -Restricted access to labour market and education, etc.
7 Realizing the right to freedom from violence for women and girl refugees Increase resettlement programmes for refugee women and girls to Europe Collect data and adopt as well as apply policies to ensure gender equality in refugee protection Improve reception standards for asylum-seekers Enhance links between those working with refugees and those supporting women / girl victims of violence Improve information of women and include them in planning protection and assistance activities