|If Not Now, When? - Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Refugee, Internally Displaced, and Post-Conflict Settings - A Global Overview (RHRC, 2002, 123 p.)|
This report is one of several outcomes of a two-year global Gender-based Violence Initiative spearheaded by the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium (RHRC) and aimed at improving international and local capacity to address gender-based violence (GBV) in refugee, internally displaced, and post-conflict settings. The Initiative was made possible with generous funding by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children (Women's Commission) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have jointly supervised all aspects of implementing the Initiative.
The overall objective of this report is to provide a baseline narrative account of some of the major issues, programming efforts, and gaps in programming related to the prevention of and response to GBV among conflict-affected populations worldwide. Other outcomes of the Initiative, including an extensive web-based bibliography of GBV resources (accessible at www.rhrc.org/resources/gbv/bib) and an RHRC field manual for GBV assessment, program design, and evaluation, are meant to supplement the findings of this report with practical and field-friendly tools, as well as educational and training materials.
The report is composed of twelve country profiles: three each for Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Selection of the countries was based on global representation as well as the extent to which they variously represent stages of conflict and types of GBV. Efforts were made not to investigate settings where reviews of GBV-related programming had already been widely published. For practical purposes, countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe with RHRC member field offices available to facilitate site visits were given priority.
Nine profiles - the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Burma/Thailand, East Timor, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo - are the outcome of one- to two-week field investigations that included interviews with survivors, local GBV-related organizations, international humanitarian aid and human rights organizations, local and national government representatives, and United Nations personnel. Given the logistical challenges imposed by the brevity of the visits, the findings within each profile are not meant to be exhaustive but, rather, to provide an impression upon which to base further research and programming activities. Moreover, the profiles represent circumstances only as they existed during the period of the site visits, the dates of which are identified at the beginning of each profile and in the annex that follows this report. The one exception to this rule is the profile of Afghanistan/Pakistan, in which consideration was given in the recommendations to the exceptional events that have recently altered the landscape of possibility for instituting GBV-related programming.
The profiles are broadly divided into sections, including background information, GBV issues, GBVrelated programming, and recommendations. The background sections exist to provide a general context in which GBV incidents and programming occur, and subsequent sections attempt to be as specific as possible in illustrating the nature and prevalence of GBV, the activities underway, and the gaps in those activities that contribute to the perpetuation of GBV. The recommendations section is without exception based on commentary provided during site visit interviews. However, information in the profiles that originated from personal interviews is generally not cited in order to preserve the confidentiality of those offering their experiences and insights. Information taken from secondary reports is cited in the notes, and these reports have become a part of the RHRC library of GBV information.
The profiles for Colombia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua are the result of New York-based desk studies undertaken during the fall of 2001 by Melinda Leonard, graduate student of the Columbia University School for International and Public Affairs. Resources for the desk studies were primarily published reports and telephone interviews with international and local experts. Since the profiles of Latin America were not informed by site visits (because of changes in project funding), their findings focus on descriptive accounts of available information about GBV issues and programming. While organizations and initiatives have undoubtedly been overlooked in the Latin America profiles given the general difficulty in gaining access to program materials, the profiles nevertheless provide useful overviews for considering GBV prevention and response in the countries under review. They follow the general format of the Africa, Asia, and Europe profiles, with the exception that the specific recommendations generated during site visits are absent from the Latin America profiles.
Although GBV encompasses violence against boys and girls and men and women, the findings of this report focus almost exclusively on violence experienced by women and girls. The reasons for this orientation are two-fold: first, GBV programming targeting men and boy survivors is virtually non-existent among conflict-affected populations; and second, women and girls are the primary targets of GBV worldwide. This report has been produced with the sincere hope that its information will not only stimulate GBV-related programming addressing the particular vulnerabilities of women and girls but also motivate further examination of methods for prevention of and response to GBV that engages boys, girls, men, and women.
About the Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium
The Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium was established in 1995 to promote the institutionalization of reproductive health services in refugee settings worldwide. Consortium members represent a unique mix of advocacy, development, humanitarian relief, research, and training organizations. Four members - the American Refugee Committee, CARE, the International Rescue Committee, and Marie Stopes International - focus on working with international and local NGOs, U.N. agencies, refugees, and host country governments to provide direct reproductive health services to refugees. JSI Research and Training Institute and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health at the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health are primarily involved in project research, staff training, and technical assistance. The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, as an expert resource and advocacy organization, serves as coordinator of the Consortium. Each member of the Consortium has capacity and experience in gender-based violence research, training, and programming.