UNITED NATIONS, Nov 27, (APP): One in five refugee or internally displaced women have faced sexual violence, and the situation is getting bad to worst globally, the UN refugee agency, (UNHCR), said in a statement.
On the 30th anniversary of the campaign for 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the UN refugee agency said that there’s been a global spike in domestic violence, child marriages, trafficking, sexual and financial exploitation and abuse since March.
“A lethal mix of confinement, deepening poverty and economic duress is unleashing a renewed wave of violence against refugee, displaced and stateless women and girls”, UNHCR, which is based in Geneva, said in a statement issued on Friday.
To tackle the crisis, the UN agency has called for funding to be scaled up for grassroots projects that emphasis on prevention and helping victims of gender-based violence.
United Nations Human Rights Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) highlighted that the need for such local, refugee-led projects has become even greater during the COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdowns have taken away refugees’ often precarious livelihoods, heightening tensions in households and making it more difficult for international agencies to deliver support services.
UNHCR issued the alert after record increases in gender-based violence in at least 27 countries in the World.
“In the Central African Republic it warned that one gender-based violence incident is recorded every hour” UNHCR reported.
And in Colombia, similar incidents affecting Venezuelan refugees and migrants have increased by 40 per cent over the first three- quarters of the year, the agency noted.
The financial stress of COVID-19 and a lack of food in households during the pandemic has put women at greater risk from violence at the hands of their partners, UNHCR added in a recent report.
This is the case on the Thai-Myanmar border, where refugee women who were already running support services and safe houses for survivors of gender-based violence asked the UN agency for funding, to provide food to families who had lost work owing to the pandemic’s economic impact.
Reaffirming its own commitment to addressing gender-based violence across its operations, UNHCR launched an institution-wide policy on GBV prevention, risk mitigation and response, in October this year.