In any crisis, there is a series of essential steps that must be taken to protect and assist displaced persons. The Women’s Refugee Commission has developed a list of the of the Top 10 steps that must be taken by the humanitarian community and refugee-receiving countries to help protect the most vulnerable.
Special attention should be given to life-saving reproductive health services, particularly for survivors of sexual violence, pregnant women and newborns. The Minimum Initial Service Package Package (MISP) outlines the basic reproductive health standards that must be met at the start of an emergency.
Safe access to cooking fuel is critical in humanitarian settings. Without it, displaced people face risks to their health, safety and well-being. Every sector, including camp coordination and camp management, food and nutrition, health or livelihoods, has a role to play in this issue--and sectors need to work together. The Women's Refugee Commission has developed a set of fact sheets for every sector to outline the issues involved, the problems and solutions.
Refugees with disabilities are extremely vulnerable and are often overlooked. The Women's Refugee Commission has developed a training "Disability Inclusion in Programs for Refugees and Displaced People." Check out the PowerPoint.
As Syria’s brutal civil war continues to unfold, one third of the country’s population has fled to neighboring countries, marking this humanitarian crisis as the largest in the world, and one of the gravest in recent history. A further 4.25 million people are displaced inside Syria, according to data as of 27 August from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
‘Syria has become the great tragedy of this century - a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history,” said António Guterres, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees. “The only solace is the humanity shown by the neighboring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees.” With an average of almost 5,000 Syrians fleeing into neighboring countries every day, the need to significantly increase humanitarian aid and development support to host communities has reached a critical stage.’
Some 40% of the refugees are under 12 years old, and women make up nearly half of the entire refugee population. More than 100,000 Syrians, mostly civilians, have died. The threats to women’s and children’s safety continue to grow, and women’s voices remain absent from current attempts to find a peaceful, sustainable resolution to the current conflict.
The WRC has been on the ground in Jordan and Lebanon, assessing how the humanitarian response in these countries is meeting the needs of vulnerable groups. In Lebanon, our Disabilities Team has worked with local partners to assess if and how international relief agencies are including refugees with disabilities in their programming. To read our reports and assesments of disability inclusion in the refugee response in Lebanon click here.
In Jordan, our Sexual and Reproductive Health team conducted assesments in Z'aatri Refugee Camp and in urban refugee zones, looking at the availability of sexual and reproductive health services for refugee women and girls. Read our report "Reproductive Health Services for Syrian Refugees in Zaatri Refugee Camp and Irbid City, Jordan."
Our work in Syria's neighboring countries has allowed us to make recommendations to international agencies such as the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) about what is working for women and girls on the ground, and how to better distribute resources to meet their needs. Additionally, we have been undertaking international advocacy calling for an end to the violence in Syria, and increased funding for humanitarian assistance.
Read the open letter to the UN Security Council from the NGO Working Group on Women Peace and Security, of which the Women's Refugee Commission is a member, urging UN Member States to end the violence in Syria, to allow humanitarian agencies access to all those in need of assistance, to provide assistance to Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries and to ensure that the women and men of Syria are equally involved in rebuilding their country.
Photo:Alessio Romenzi / Corbis