Women and children make up the majority of refugees and internally displaced persons in Syria. Syrian refugee women fleeing war face increased risks of sexual violence and harassment in both refugee camps and as they flee from Syria to neighbouring countries. Women who end up in refugee camps are often restricted to tight spaces and forced to use common toilet areas where the risk of being attacked increases.
Little information is being collected on the challenges Syrian women refugees and asylum seekers face in camps along the Syrian border or on the long and dangerous journey through Europe. Women’s groups in Syria and across Europe are raising their voices on the issue—pointing to insufficient laws and specific services for refugee women. They are also calling for separate accommodations for women in refugee camps to protect refugee women from violence and abuse.
German women’s organizations in particular have criticized their government for under-reporting cases of sexual violence in German refugee camps. Authorities have been relatively silent on the matter—due to fear backlash from political factions arguing for Germany to close its borders to refugees, many argue.
German authorities accused of playing down refugee shelter sex crime reports, Reuters, 6 October 2015.
No Safe Asylum for female refugees in Europe, Deutsche Welle, 11 October 2015.
Syrian Women Refugees: Out of the Shadows, openDemocracy 50.50., 16 June 2014.
Follow @NobelWomen #WomenRefugeesWelcome delegation as we meet with Syrian women fleeing war.