The Effects of Refugee Status on Syrian Women and Girls IMPACTS ON HEALTH AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

The Syrian Civil War

  • Over 5 years of conflict between the state and rebel groups
  • Between 400,000 and 470,000 killed
  • Damage to hundreds of towns and communities and thousands of homes
  • Conflict is ongoing
A syrian girl observes the destruction of her neighborhood

Syrian Refugees

  • 6.6 million people displaced within the country
  • 4.8 million refugees in surrounding countries, primarily in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey
  • 75% of those are women and children
  • Either transient or living in refugee camps
Top: Typical refugee camp in Turkey. Bottom left: Women waiting to get clean water. Bottom right: Women and children looking out of the camp's fencing.

Syrian Refugee Women and Girls

  • The majority of Syrian refugees are women and girls
  • They are more vulnerable than other groups of refugees
  • Tend to stay in camps longer
Women waiting in line to receive aid from an islamic relief agency

Refugee Women and Girls' Health

  • Child brides become more common as families try to protect their daughters' honor
  • Poor sanitation in refugee camps breeds disease
  • Lack of infrastructure to support influx of refugees in neighboring countries
  • The cost of medical care is prohibitive
Top: A 13 year old girl set to be married in a month. Bottom left: Destroyed al-Kindi hospital in Aleppo. Bottom right: Unsanitary conditions in a refugee camp in Jordan.

Violence Against Refugee Women and Girls

  • Women are threatened by physical, mental, and sexual violence
  • "Survival sex" as a means of financial support
  • Vulnerable to trafficking
  • Less access to capital, especially in a broken down state

Refugee status means that women lose most social and legal protections, including access to infrastructure and public services. The Syrian crisis disproportionately affects women and girls by limiting their access to healthcare and increasing their physical vulnerability. The effects are far-reaching, impacting not only Syrian refugee women, but also women in the surrounding countries.

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