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Colombia: Displaced Women Demand Their Rights

Violence and fear of violence is one of the major reasons women are displaced. Displaced women often face sexual and physical abuse, and are rarely given the tools that they need to protect themselves and their families. Most displaced women do not have enough income to provide for their families, and frequently end up selling themselves into prostitution to help cover daily expenses. In Colombia, women formed an activist group and collected 600 cases of displaced women who have been ignored by civil authorities. Together, they presented the cases in court and fought for the right to receive humanitarian aid and protection from the conflicts they fled.

“Colombia: Displaced Women Demand Their Rights.” Refugees International. 16 Nov. 2009. Web. 16 July 2011. <http://www.refintl.org/policy/field-report/colombia-displaced-women-demand-their-rights>.



Women and Displacement: Strength in Adversity

This interview demonstrates that displaced women are not helpless in the face of adversity, and often assume an active role in protecting their families during times of conflict. The interview shows examples of women who have taken an active role in ensuring their own well being. Although women are strong enough to take care of their families, displaced women face an elevated risk of sexual abuse. When addressing the issues surrounding armed conflict, women and children are almost always grouped together, and the special needs of women are ignored. In order to effectively help internally displaced women, one must address the specific needs of women, which is done most effectively by initiating a dialogue.

“Women and Displacement: Strength in Adversity.” International Committee of the Red Cross. 3 Feb. 2010. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/interview/women-displacement-interview-020310.htm>.



IRAQ: Displaced women still struggle for survival

In recent years, the number of displaced Iraqi women has steadily increased, opening up a number of glaring issues that need to be addressed. A recent study found that of the 1,355 female-headed families who have returned to their homes, 74% are having trouble providing food for their families. Food stipends given by the government often arrive late and cannot sufficiently meet the needs of displaced families. Displaced Iraqi women also have trouble finding jobs because of health problems or social stigmas against women that work. About 40% of women surveyed by the IOM reported that they depend on relatives, neighbors, NGOs, and religious groups in order to survive. Governmental and non-governmental organizations must take the problems of displaced women seriously and work actively to find solutions.

“IRAQ: Displaced women still struggle for survival.” IRIN News. 2010. Web. 28 July 2011. <http://irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=91310>.



Liberia: Protect Refugees against Sexual Abuse

According to recent studies conducted by Human Rights Watch, displaced and impoverished women are most vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation. In past months, Liberia has seen large numbers of refugees enter its borders from neighboring Côte d’Ivoire in response to political and social unrest. These refugees face deplorable conditions, and are often forced into sexual slavery in order to receive food, shelter, or money. Many of the women and girls have lost their husbands or parents, which makes them more vulnerable to these conditions. This article serves as a poignant call to action for both the Liberian government and the United Nations. According to the author, Liberian authorities and the international community need to play a more active role in protecting the rights of Ivorian refugees. This can be accomplished by establishing a more effective method of distributing aid, which would make refugee women safer from sexual exploitation.

“Liberia: Protect Refugees against Sexual Abuse.” Human Rights Watch. 20 April 2011. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. <http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/04/20/liberia-protect-refugees-against-sexual-abuse>.

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