How the Humanitarian Response to COVID-19 Failed to Protect Women and Girls

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International Rescue Committee

During the spread of COVID-19, gender-based violence increased across the globe. This report raises the voices of 852 refugee and displaced women in 15 African countries across East Africa, West Africa and the Great Lakes regions, enabling them to express how COVID-19 has impacted their safety.

Experts in the area of gender-based violence and women’s rights activists worldwide raised the issue early on, connecting the pandemic and its restrictions of movement to an increased risk of being exposed to violence for women and girls. Although this risk received political attention, providing practical safety for women and girls proved to be challenging. This report also questions to what extent the needs and safety of women and girls were taken into account in the humanitarian response to COVID-19.

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