Caritas: Remember Women Refugees

Says International Community Can Do Better

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ROME, JUNE 18, 2010 ( When World Refugee Day is marked this Sunday, the Caritas aid organization hopes the plight of the 3 million women refugees on the planet is given due attention.

«Women refugees are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses in cases where they’ve been forced to leave their homes for long-standing periods. Caritas says the international community can do better in protecting them from violence,» a communiqué from the agency announced today.

Caritas’ director of policy, Martina Liebsch, affirmed that the international community must «show the political will» to ensure the protection guaranteed in international treaties.

According to the aid agency, there are some 10 million refugees in the world today, two-thirds of whom are in crises that have lasted five years or longer. Women make up 49% percent of the refugee population.

“Women can become victims of violence in these [refugee] camps,” said Liebsch. “They are more vulnerable to attacks as they frequently have to leave the camps for basic supplies for their families, such as firewood and water.”

Caritas called not only for better security in camps, but also for better mechanisms for women to report violence and have access to legal proceedings.

“Supporting livelihood programs for women is a key factor,” Liebsch proposed. “By giving a woman the ability to provide for herself and her family in a secure environment, they will not be forced to take risks by going outside camp.”

But she added: «The best way to provide security is to resolve crises themselves so refugees can return home.»

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