The Vulnerability of Women Refugees to Gender Based Violence (GBV): A Case of Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


Confronted with violence and persecution in their homelands poses direct threats to the personal safety, and wellbeing, of affected populations forcing them to flee in search of safe environments. Amongst these groups of people are women. This study aims to probe the vulnerabilities of women refugees from Yemen, Eretria, Somalia, South Sudan, Great Lakes Region and others to Gender Based Violence (GBV), with specific interest on refugees in urban areas -Addis Ababa. The study focuses on identifying the causes, risk factors and consequences; as well as explore the extent of protection extended by the state and non-state actors in relation to their access to services such as prevention, treatment and remedial actions in Addis Ababa. The overall framework for this study will focus on a human right centered approach as well as on the international and regional conventions on refugee protection. It highlights women refugee‟s challenges and coping mechanisms in Addis Ababa, and the effects on the realization of their right to dignity, and other rights including right to life, right to health and well-being. To accomplish this, and with the purpose of explaining women vulnerabilities as refugees in a host country, a qualitative approach was adopted by means of in-depth interviews to extract personal stories from women refugees and officials of responsible institutions. Looking at the lives of women refugees in– Addis Ababa, in relation to their rights, safety and security offers useful insights into some of the specific challenges they face. It was found that difficulties encountered include language barriers, in accessibility of government social services as a direct consequence of national authorities not being aware of their mandate to support refugees, and the high cost of living that pushes refugees to the outskirts of the city, which also open another dimension to their vulnerabilities to GBV. The study also found that most survivors would rather choose not to report GBV, due to inaction or unsatisfactory response from authorities to their specific needs/complaints. It is also useful to highlight that despite the number of service providers, the pathway and information on available services is still limited, and little is being done to support victims‟ access to legal aid.



Women Refugees to Gender Based Violence