Women and girls who are forcibly displaced by conflict, natural disasters, economic reasons or other causes, face specific threats and diverse forms of gender-based discrimination, violence and human rights violations. Their access to legal protection, safety, gender-responsive assistance, a life of dignity and respect for their rights is often further undermined by factors such as age, disability, previous marginalized social position among others. While the risk is generally heightened during transit, this does not disappear once in reception centres, refugee camps, settlements or sites of internal displacement.
Women and girls often report increased vulnerability and higher instances of personal insecurity, unmet hygiene needs, sexual exploitation, early marriages and limited access to safe quality education at all levels, adequate protection, legal justice for sexual crimes, sexual and reproductive health information and services, livelihood opportunities among other challenges.
The 33rd Civil Society Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union and Member States therefore provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on the realities of forcibly displaced women and girls and to define durable gender-responsive solutions to forced displacement for Africa.