UN warns refugee women unprotected

2015-12-03 22:47
Young refugees play in a registration centre in Passau, southern Germany. (Kerstin Joensson, AP)

Young refugees play in a registration centre in Passau, southern Germany. (Kerstin Joensson, AP)

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London - The United Nations population fund on Thursday warned about the fate of 26 million women and girls among those displaced by conflict or uprooted by disaster, calling for more attention to their needs.

"Every day, 507 women and adolescent girls die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in emergency situations and fragile states," UNFPA director Babatunde Osotimehin said at a presentation of the organisation's annual report in London.

A total of 100 million people have required humanitarian aid this year - a record since 1945.

The report said that conflicts and displacement caused 53% of deaths of children under five, three out of five avoidable deaths of mothers and 45% of deaths of newborn babies.

But Osotimehin told AFP the situation could be solved, giving the example of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan where he said 5  000 babies have been born without any deaths of children or mothers.

"In humanitarian situations, people tend to pay attention to water sanitation, shelters, food, security," he said.

"But when it gets to the needs of women or pregnant women and their safety and their security and their protection from sexual violence, people don't pay attention at all," he added.

The report said the "needs and rights must be met" of the 26 million women and girls affected by wars and natural disasters.

"I want to raise funds but I want to raise awareness that the women and the girls are vulnerable," Osotimehin said.

Read more on:    un  |  migrants  |  gender equality

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