Gender and displacement

FMR 9
December 2000

Looking at forced migration from a gender perspective provides insight into a number of issues relating to the planning and implementation of humanitarian assistance. Conflict and disasters impact differently on men and women. It cannot be assumed that their needs and interests are the same, nor that those of women or of men are the same everywhere. A gender approach then requires project planning to be based on an understanding of the varied contexts in which interventions are implemented. An important conclusion emerging from this collection is the danger of taking a broad-brush approach to the design of assistance programmes and of deploying models and guidelines which are insensitive to local contexts or uninformed by research and analysis of these contexts. The articles in this issue have relevance for four important questions in particular: the impact of interventions on processes of social change, the management of camps for refugees and displaced persons, sexual violence against women, and the implementation of international conventions and guidelines on the rights of (especially women) refugees and IDPs.

Contents

Judy El-Bushra

This issue of Forced Migration Review comes at a time when Gender and Development as a body of theoretical and professional practice is at a critical point in its evolution.

Simon Turner

This article explores how attempts by UNHCR and others to empower women in refugee camps are reinterpreted and given new meaning by the refugees themselves.

Cathrine Brun

This article examines the importance of understanding the part of young men in the processes of displacement and resettlement and suggests that agencies need to take greater account of the role and position of young displaced men when formulating gender-sensitive policy and practice.(1)

Srilakshmi Gururaja

This article focuses on how gender awareness is essential for addressing the protection and participation rights of displaced women and girls, with a discussion of the role and results of the Beijing conferences.

Heaven Crawley

The particular difficulties facing many women as asylum seekers stem not from the absence of ‘gender’ in the Refugee Convention’s grounds but rather from the failure of decision makers to acknowledge and respond to the gendering of politics and of women’s relationship to the state when applying that definition to individual cases.

Peter Mwangi Kagwanja

This article examines the ethnically-discriminatory nature of Kenya's refugee policy, its influence on the administration and practice of refugee affairs, especially by relief agencies, and its role in encouraging sexual violence against women refugees.(1)

Monica Trujillo

Recognition of women as agricultural producers, including their role in the conservation of genetic diversity, is crucial for understanding the impact of disasters and disaster-induced displacement on the agricultural sector, for accurately assessing losses and hence for effective relief and rehabilitation programmes.

General articles

Randolph Martin

The recent and very tragic deaths of UNHCR workers in West Timor and Guinea have once again focused attention on the precarious security circumstance under which humanitarian relief work is so often conducted.

Jo de Berry and Jo Boyden

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Opinions in FMR do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors, the Refugee Studies Centre or the University of Oxford.
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