Women Badly Need Protection From Gender-Based Violence In Rukban, Al-Hol Camps - UNFPA

Women Badly Need Protection From Gender-Based Violence in Rukban, Al-Hol Camps - UNFPA

The status of Syrian women residing in the Rukban and Al-Hol refugee camps is worrisome, with many of them facing gender-based violence and being forcibly married off, Laura London, the deputy executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told Sputnik on Friday

BRUSSELS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 15th March, 2019) The status of Syrian women residing in the Rukban and Al-Hol refugee camps is worrisome, with many of them facing gender-based violence and being forcibly married off, Laura London, the deputy executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told Sputnik on Friday, which marks the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian war.

Citing the 2019 United Nations Humanitarian Needs Overview, London said that gender-based violence, particularly sexual harassment, forced and child marriage, and domestic violence, was still very present in the lives of women and girls in Syria.

"The protection needs in Rukban, including [from] all forms of GBV [gender-based violence], as well as early and forced marriages, are huge," London said.

London cited Al-Hol camp as another place where women remain vulnerable. According to London, women residing in that camp are in urgent need of lifesaving support, including shelter, food and health care.

"Protection concerns are also very high. Many vulnerable women and children do not have shelter or cover, and are sleeping outside in the cold, wind and rain.

Referral systems for gender-based violence and other health concerns are challenged from the lack of hospitals and secondary health care facilities in the camp and surrounding areas," London said.

She added that the situation was further complicated by the fact that women giving birth and their newborn babies lacked professional medical assistance.

Even when the refugees decide to return to their homes, their needs for protection and access to medical care remain just as high, London noted.

"Returnees need registration and legal support, housing, livelihoods opportunities and access to basic services, particularly education, health care, water, and sanitation. On top of this, women and children have specific needs to be taken into account. They need protection from and treatment for gender-based violence, socio-economic support and empowerment," she added.

According to the 2019 United Nations Humanitarian Needs Overview, Syria has a total of 6.5 million women in need. The precarious situation with their access to food, medical care and other vital goods and services is compounded by gender-based violence.

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