Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 29: Refugees and Displaced Women
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Out of every 10 refugees and displaced persons in the world, 8 are women and children.
Refugees are people who cross the border of their country into another country, because they fear for their safety at home. Displaced people are people who are forced to leave their homes but remain in their own country. Many refugees and displaced people are victims of a group that has gained power and is prejudiced against the ethnic group, religion, nationality, or political views of others. If this group controls basic resources like food and water, people must leave their homes to survive.
Women and children make up more than 80% of refugees and displaced people. This is because men have often died fighting or been forced to leave their families. Like all refugees and displaced people, women need to be protected from forced return to their homes. They also need laws that give them economic and social rights, so they can get basic resources like food, shelter, clothing, and health care. As women, they need special protection from armed attacks, and from sexual and physical abuse.
This chapter will focus on some of the health problems that refugee and displaced women face. Most importantly, this chapter looks at the role these women can play in their new communities.