Housing Rights and Related Facilities for Female Refugees and Internally Displaced Women

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For various reasons, but mostly because of violence, millions of people all over the world have been forced to leave their homes and are looking for security and shelter elsewhere. They have either crossed a border, and are called refugees, or they have remained within their own country and are known as internally displaced persons (IDPs). The crossing of a border is important, since this has several legal and practical implications. In general, the level of assistance for IDPs is on a lower scale. The majority of the refugees and IDPs consists of women and children. Homeless women are very vulnerable. They are especially prone to rape and sexual abuse. Moreover, sexual discriminatory practices may take place with regard to the distribution of food, goods and services. When they are housed in emergency camps and shelters, relief workers, international organisations and host countries should be made aware of these special needs and circumstances. Once awareness is created, solutions must be found. Several recommendations are made, some of them consisting of pragmatic measures, like illumination at night and sex segregated latrines and washing facilities. Since both UNHCR and the Special Rapporteur on IDPs have acknowledged the special plight of women, and both mechanisms have analysed the specific problems, much attention is paid to their findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-415
Number of pages12
JournalNetherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

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