Plan Works in Rwandan Refugee Camps to Stop Gender-Based Violence
In an ongoing effort to protect human rights and secure the safety of the world’s most vulnerable people, Plan International announced in May that it would be supporting all of Rwanda’s refugee camps.
Plan will be coordinating its efforts with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“We are impressed by the community-based protection structures in place,” said Katherine Nichol, Plan Rwanda Gender specialist coordinating the intervention in all camps. “We are working closely with these to ensure the protection of girls, boys, women, and men in the camps.”
Ensuring safety will be a focal point of Plan’s efforts – particularly in addressing gender-based violence. Forty to 160 cases of gender-based violence are reported in the camps each year. Plan seeks to improve the lives of refugees in all Rwandan camps through the delivery of comprehensive child protection, gender-based violence prevention and response, and targeted programming for youth, people with disabilities, and older adults.
In Rwanda, there is a refugee population of nearly 75,000 people. Most were displaced during armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the ‘90s. A second influx began in 2012.
Women and children make up more than 80 percent of camp populations, resulting in significant barriers to ensuring protection. Cases of violence in camps include physical aggression, domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect. Additionally, insufficient access to secondary school, barriers to securing birth certificates, and limited understanding of child and women’s rights have exacerbated vulnerability among the populations.
“In terms of birth registration, we are moving on well in Nyabiheke and Gihembe refugee camps with more than 400 birth certificates issued, but we are still dealing with backlogs from 1996,” said Guy-Rufin, UNHCR Head of Byumba sub-office in the northern province. “Let’s keep birth registration on the agenda. I am glad Plan has birth registration among its protection priorities worldwide.
“As there are risks of new trends of gender-based violence in [refugee] camps, let us sit as partners, look at all gender-based violence aspects, and actively engage the police and other actors to come up with a more focused and comprehensive response,” he added.
Plan needs your help with its relief efforts in Rwanda.
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