Women & Girls

Hurricane María’s Survivors: “Women’s Safety Was Not Prioritized”

Hurricane María’s Survivors: “Women’s Safety Was Not Prioritized”

One year ago this week, Hurricane María made landfall in Puerto Rico causing catastrophic damage to the island. Women and girls are typically disproportionately impacted in natural disasters, and there are widely held standards and guidelines in place to guarantee their protection before, during, and after an emergency. However, insufficient protocols were put in place to ensure that women were protected during and after the storm. In fact, violence against women increased after Hurricane María, and women’s rights activists have now declared a crisis of gender-based violence (GBV) in the storm’s aftermath. 

As 16 Days of Activism End, The Fight Against Gender-Based Violence Continues

As 16 Days of Activism End, The Fight Against Gender-Based Violence Continues

At the close of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, Francisca Vigaud-Walsh writes that women’s bodies are often a battleground in conflict zones, and humanitarian aid areas must be a place for healing their wounds. Programs such as the U.S. initiative "Safe From the Start" are essential tools in the addressing the impacts of violence against woman and girls in conflicts.

Rohingya Crisis: GBV Policy and Advocacy Task Team Inter-agency Briefing Paper

Rohingya Crisis: GBV Policy and Advocacy Task Team Inter-agency Briefing Paper

The Policy and Advocacy Task Team of the Gender-based Violence Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR) recognizes the continuing generosity of the Government and people of Bangladesh in keeping their borders open to the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict and violence in Myanmar.

Open Letter to Permanent Representatives to the UN: Recommendations on the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS)

As we approach the 17th anniversary of the adoption of SCR 1325 (2000) and the annual Security Council open debate on women, peace and security (WPS), we take this opportunity to reiterate the fundamental principles enshrined in the WPS agenda and urge each Member State to more consistently promote and abide by them.

Guilt by Association: Iraqi Women Detained and Subject to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Guilt by Association: Iraqi Women Detained and Subject to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

After the liberation of Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS) occupation in July 2017, Refugees International (RI) traveled to Iraq to examine the specific challenges faced by women and girls in the aftermath of the military operation. Among the most urgent issues are the detention and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of Iraqi women and girls perceived or alleged to be affiliated with ISIS by Iraqi Security Forces and other Iraqi authorities.

Lest we forget: Assisting ISIS survivors in Iraq

Lest we forget: Assisting ISIS survivors in Iraq

This month marks the three-year anniversary of the withdrawal of an 11,000-strong Peshmerga force from Sinjar in northern Iraq. The withdrawal left Sinjar’s Yazidi minority community besieged by Islamic State (ISIS) fighters. For one displaced Yazidi family with whom I recently met in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, there is both reason to grieve and to celebrate. The head of family told me that dozens of extended family members were kidnapped by ISIS during the siege. But this anniversary also marks the first that his now 15-year-old daughter, Vian,* is home.

Urgent Action Needed to Save Lives in Nigeria and Lake Chad

Urgent Action Needed to Save Lives in Nigeria and Lake Chad

On Friday, the governments of Germany, Nigeria, and Norway, along with the United Nations, are hosting the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. The objective is to focus political attention on Africa's biggest humanitarian crisis, as well as to generate financial contributions to respond to urgent humanitarian needs.  

Letter to President Trump on Prioritizing Women and Girls

Letter to President Trump on Prioritizing Women and Girls

Our organizations represent hundreds of thousands of Americans, thought leaders, program implementers, and business leaders currently advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls, global development, and humanitarian assistance for peace and security around the world. While our organizations bring differing perspectives, and employ different methods in our work, one thing that unites us is our commitment to advancing gender equality, and the empowerment and human rights of all women and girls, in the United States and around the world. We believe that all people are created equal and deserve the opportunity to realize their full potential and exercise their rights.

A Battle Not Yet Over: Displacement and Women's Needs in Post-Peace Agreement Colombia

A Battle Not Yet Over: Displacement and Women's Needs in Post-Peace Agreement Colombia

After 50 years of brutal war, the peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People’s Army is cause to celebrate. Women and girls have long been on the frontlines of this war – as combatant, victim, and peacemaker. What they and all conflict victims stand to gain from peace is monumental, given that entire generations have known nothing but war. However, the challenges to a sustainable peace in Colombia cannot be underestimated as ongoing conflict and violence continue to threaten this population. 

Peace in Colombia? Proceed with Caution

Peace in Colombia? Proceed with Caution

Many are heralding this as an historic moment for the South American nation, host to more than seven million of its own displaced citizens, making it the second-largest internal displacement crisis in the world after Syria. If and when the Colombian people vote “yes” on peace, Colombia’s humanitarian stakeholders should not let their enthusiasm obscure the continued challenges the country will face – challenges that could imperil the peace agreement’s viability at any time.  

Nigeria’s Displaced Women and Girls: Humanitarian Community at Odds, Boko Haram’s Survivors Forsaken

Nigeria’s Displaced Women and Girls: Humanitarian Community at Odds, Boko Haram’s Survivors Forsaken

It has been two years since the world’s deadliest terrorist organization – Boko Haram – abducted 271 girls from their high school in the town of Chibok – a tragedy that would shine much needed international attention on conflict in northeastern Nigeria. Sadly, the Chibok girls are only one part of a much larger story of violence against women and girls in the northeast. But the attention on this remote corner of the Sahel has not translated into sustained humanitarian assistance for all those that have been affected. 

Women and Girls Failed: The Burundian Refugee Response in Tanzania

Women and Girls Failed: The Burundian Refugee Response in Tanzania

The recent crisis in Burundi has forced the flight of more than 220,000 refugees, of whom half are female. Many experienced gender-based violence (GBV), including sexual violence, during their flight to safety. Nearly 50 percent of Burundian women and girls reporting GBV upon arrival in Tanzania required post-rape care. Yet many refugees in Tanzania say that the threat of violence continues in their country of refuge – in and around the very camps where they should feel safe.

Congolese Women: What Happened to the Promise to Protect?

Congolese Women: What Happened to the Promise to Protect?

It is impossible to talk about the Democratic Republic of the Congo without talking about sexual violence. The widespread acknowledgement of gross levels of conflict-related sexual violence in the DRC spurred the international community to act in an unprecedented manner to protect women from these atrocities.

Philippines: New Approach to Emergency Response Fails Women and Girls

Philippines: New Approach to Emergency Response Fails Women and Girls

In November 2013, a massive typhoon struck the Philippines, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes. The response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is the largest to a sudden-onset natural disaster since the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan floods. Typhoon Haiyan is also the first large-scale natural disaster to strike since the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Transformative Agenda (TA) was adopted, and the first Level 3 (L3) emergency declaration in such a context.