Urgent Policies for Women Refugees, Displaced Women, and Children in light of COVID-19

Press Release
9 April 2020

CWPAR Calls for Urgent Policies in Light of Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Women Refugees, Displaced Women, and Children in Hosting Countries


Where are the women refugees, displaced women, and children in the precautionary measures against the coronavirus (COVID-19) of their hosting countries?

Women refugees, displaced women, and children have been forgotten in the midst of the global pandemic, while in fact, the suffering of these women and children is multiplied due to the imposed curfews, the suspension of resettlement, their obligation to stay in overcrowded camps and shelters, the absence of health care, and the discriminatory measures practiced against them in the countries of the region, in addition to the consequences of UNHCR’s decision to suspend resettlement travel and decrease the number of workers in camps, that was issued on March 17th, 2020.

Women refugees and displaced women are affected twice as much by the pandemic and have become vulnerable to acts that threaten their safety. They are outside their original countries and are unable to provide for themselves the protection that their countries should have guaranteed. They are, like all other refugees, in need of protection from forced repatriation, armed attacks, and other forms of violence within their families. They also need a legal status that provides them with adequate social and economic rights, and guarantees their access to essential items and medical care, in addition to protection from domestic violence crimes and sexual violations, as well as protection from systematic violence that in used in armed conflicts. Moreover, their children are victims of human rights violations, conflicts, and other acts of aggression.

Countries of the Arab region host more than 85% of the world’s refugees and displaced women, and in the course of our solidarity-based responsibility towards the women of the region in this humanitarian crisis, and the necessity of solidarity with the women refugees of the region in getting their human rights, CWPAR calls for urgent policies to protect women refugees, displaced women, and children from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Caucus for Women Politicians in the Arab Region calls the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) , and the national governments to:

  • Show international, regional, and local solidarity with the refugees and their conditions around the world, especially women and children

  • Include women refugees and women groups calling for their rights in the decision-making process, and adopt measures that protect women and child refugees around the world

  • Adopt exceptional measures in coordination with UNHCR and UNRWA with regards to the residency and resettlement of women and child refugees

  • Formulate a global policy with the participation of governments, international organizations, and regional and local civil society, to coordinate resources, and add additional ones to face the pandemic taking into consideration the gender perspective of the issues of refugees and displaced persons

  • Include women refugees, displaced women, and children in national plans, precautionary measures, and healthcare budgets related to the coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • Develop a contingency plan for refugee camps, that guarantees the safety of women and child refugees, and encompasses the life and health aspects in all countries

  • Develop programs to protect women refugees, displaced women, and children from sexual violence in all countries worldwide.