The reports of sale or exchange of sex as an economic coping mechanism has come up from at least 20 countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In a recent revelation, the UNHCR led Global Protection Cluster reported an increase in gender-based violence.
The UNHCR also raised an alarm over the increased risks of child and forced marriages by displaced families who are buckling under socio economic pressures. Several countries under conflict or displacement are known for the world’s highest rates of these incidents, said the Global Protection Cluster, which is a network of UN agencies and NGOs providing protection to people affected by humanitarian crises.
The Global protection Cluster said that since the pandemic started, North West and South West Cameroon, where security situation is volatile, saw a staggering 26 per cent of gender-based violence. One gender-based violence is recorded every hour in Central African Republic, the UNHCR said.
Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia have also experienced Gender-based violence. They saw an increase of 40 per cent of gender based violence over the first three quarters of the year, compared to the same period last year.
Bangladesh is another country where 42 per cent of Rohingya male and female refugees said that it had become more unsafe for women and girls ‘inside the house’ since the onset of pandemic. They talked of intimate partner violence attributed to tensions over containment measures, financial difficulties and movement restrictions.
United Nations High Commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi pointed out that socio-economic impact of Covid 19 drove millions of refugees and displaced people further into poverty and destitution.
Grandi stressed that jobs were lost, intimate partner violence escalated, livelihood opportunities scarce and movement restricted have all led to difficult situation.
The commissioner called for psycho-social support and safe shelters for the refugees and the displaced. There was a need for a concerted response involving national authorities, civil society, humanitarian partners, forcibly displaced women, girls, men and boys.