Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Protection

In eight out of the past ten years, there has been drought somewhere in the Horn of Africa, affecting nearly 70 million people. Indeed, the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia suffer from water scarcity on an almost annual basis. In this context, water trucking has played a pivotal role in addressing basic water needs. It is a coping mechanism during ‘typical’ dry seasons, based on existing private sector water trucks and vendors who sell water to those who are able to pay for it. In times of drought, direct water trucking is a common relief…
Yemen is a country racked with violence. Religious sectarianism, rebellion in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and the resurgence of Al-Qaeda are all playing out against a background of economic collapse, insufficient state capacity, corruption and tribalism. A large number of security incidents have affected Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) projects in Aden and Amran governorate north of the capital Sana'a (some 40 documented between April 2010 and July 2013 by MSF's French section alone), including security forces and armed men entering medical facilities to seek out patients, family and tribal revenge attacks against patients or doctors within…
As part of the primary research for the State of the World’s Girls 2013 report,[1] Plan conducted an online survey of humanitarian practitioners and decision-makers. The purpose of the survey was to provide an indication of what is actually happening in humanitarian response settings, with specific reference to adolescent girls. Respondents were asked to express their opinions of present practice and how it might be improved. The survey findings provide an illuminating insight into how response interventions are failing adolescent girls affected by disasters. They also provide an opportunity for practitioners to share practical suggestions for how different sectors can…
The link between sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and food insecurity is well documented.[1] Tensions within households, including domestic violence, can rise during periods of food scarcity, and tends to decline as assistance fills the food gap. Food assistance can also reduce the incidence of survival sex or sex for food. While food assistance programmes can support initiatives that contribute to preventing and mitigating SGBV, they can also undermine the protection of women and girls if they are implemented without sufficient understanding of the operational context. Beyond usual relief operations, food assistance is also directly used to support SGBV survivors…
Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), whilst not the root cause of violence, can exacerbate the vulnerability of women and girls to violence. Men and boys, people of other gender or sexual identities or other marginalised groups can also sometimes be at risk. As WASH practitioners working in humanitarian and development contexts, we are often aware of the anecdotal but regular examples of incidents of violence in relation to WASH. However, we often do not appreciate the scale of the problem, why it happens or what, if anything, we can or should do about it. In order to…
Humanitarian workers can give a plethora of reasons why they do not prioritise addressing gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian crises. Unlike lack of food, water or shelter, GBV is often not seen as life-threatening. The reality, however, is that rape, sexual harassment, physical assault and murder are committed largely against women and girls in camps, displacement situations and conflict areas. Despite the UN Assembly passing numerous resolutions addressing violence against women in conflict, high-level advocacy has had little effect on the situation on the ground. In humanitarian crises where there is continuing violence against civilians, what can we do to…
Sexual violence is an appalling violation of moral codes and international law which occurs in practically all situations of armed conflict and sustained violence. It is an abuse that has severe physical and psychological consequences for the individual, first and foremost, as well as the capacity to tear societies and communities apart. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence across the world, including victims of sexual abuse. In recent years, the ICRC has extended and improved what it is able to do for victims of…
A woman arrives at a health centre somewhere in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She was raped a few days ago. She does not feel well, she has pelvic pain and she fears she might be pregnant. While admitting her, the consultant asks her a series of questions: Where are you from? What religion are you? What ethnic group do you belong to? What do you do for a living? Do you have any children? Are you married? What happened? When? How? Who did it? What ethnic group did they belong to? How many of them were there? Can…
Gender-based violence (GBV) remains epidemic in situations of conflict, disaster and displacement. Despite the rhetoric, the new language around GBV, the UN Security Council Resolutions and the myriad of guidelines, women and girls, and to a lesser extent men and boys, continue to be raped, abused and violated in these contexts. Much is known about the facts of GBV and how to respond. It is known, for example, that incidents of GBV escalate, often dramatically, during conflict and displacement. It is also known that 50% of survivors are under the age of 16,[1] and that women and girls with disabilities…
The humanitarian situation in Syria has dramatically deteriorated since the onset of the conflict in March 2011. Fighting across large parts of the country has led to massive and repeated internal displacement and mounting refugee outflows. Over 100,000 people have been killed since the conflict began. An estimated 6.8 million people in Syria, or almost one-third of the entire population, now require humanitarian assistance, including 4.25m internally displaced people. About 3.1m, or some 50% of those who require assistance, are children. Restricted humanitarian access inside Syria means that limited information is available to humanitarian decision-makers on the child protection needs…
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