To be a refugee is much harder for a woman than for a man

Renate van der Zee reports from the transit camp of Vinojug on the Macedonian-Greek border: In the camp’s supposedly “child-friendly” space, 25-year-old Nameen, from Homs, is nursing her tiny baby daughter. She went into labour as she was travelling through Turkey. “Fortunately they could get me to the hospital in time. The delivery went well,” she says with a faint trace of a smile.

Nameen stayed in the hospital for two days, rested for another 10 days in Turkey, and then crossed the Mediterranean in a dinghy with her baby in her arms.

“All I could think of was my girl, I was so scared she would drown or get ill. It was so cold. I am still worried for her safety, day and night.”

The other women in Vinojug agree: to be a refugee is much harder for a woman than for a man.

Amnesty International and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, recently presented reports on the vulnerable position of women refugees and the dangers they face.

Europe is failing to provide basic protection for them, the Amnesty report stated.

This problem is now all the more critical because the percentage of women among the refugees who travel through Europe has risen dramatically. Exact data is not available, but according to UNHCR, last summer, a quarter of the refugees were women and children – now it is 55 percent. [Continue reading…]

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