The UN Secretary-General has called violence against women and girls a global “pandemic.” The creation of the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, as well as recent concern over increasing rates of child marriage amongst Syrian refugees and trafficking of girls after the earthquake in Nepal, are all examples of how this has become a priority area for improving response to humanitarian crises. But has this increasing attention so far translated into any changes on the ground?
This consultation event will be an opportunity to take stock of what has been done to date, to highlight good practices, and to help clarify the recommendations that should be submitted to the World Humanitarian Summit.
The event focused on the following questions:
- Certain groups of women and girls, including refugees and internally displaced as well as those with disabilities, are at higher risk of being targeted for gender-based violence. What are the most effective strategies to help decrease their risk and to respond to survivors’ needs?
- Are different approaches needed in conflicts versus natural disasters? In protracted crises versus rapid onset crises?
- Is there anything we can learn from the development sector or others working in the area of gender-based violence? Are there ways to partner with them to improve our efforts in humanitarian crisis settings?
- If not designed or communicated carefully, programs addressing violence against women and girls can portray and treat women as victims with little agency whom others need to keep safe or help receive care. Is there good practice regarding addressing this issue in a way that does not risk disempowering women?
Sexual violence against men and boys in crisis situations may not either be adequately addressed. However, as the factors involved are not always the same, this event will focus on the issue of violence against women and girls, and we hope to organize a separate event on this topic at a later date.