New CARE report ranks worst refugee crises for girls

11 October, 2018 — Amid an unprecedented global refugee crisis, girls are suffering the most, according to a new report released on International Day of the Girl by the humanitarian organisation CARE International.

Titled ‘Far from Home: The 13 Worst Refugee Crises for Girls,’ the report highlights not only the unique threats faced by the more than 17 million girls displaced globally but also the inspiring ways girls are overcoming those barriers.

The Syria conflict leads the list, followed by displacement crises in the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, South Sudan and the Lake Chad Basin.

Laurie Lee, CEO of CARE International UK, said:

According to the most recent UN figures, there are currently 68.5 million forcibly displaced people around the world. We already know how incredibly vulnerable they are – but this report looks at the particular ways in which girls are affected.

More than 17 million girls are displaced, many of them facing shared disadvantages, from lack of education and access to sanitary products to being forced into early marriage to provide income for their families.

But on top of this, there are other threats faced by girls before, during and after displacement that are unique to their situation.

In Nigeria, for instance, Boko Haram abducts girls not just for sexual exploitation, but also to use as suicide bombers: the terrorist group is four times more likely to deploy girl bombers than boys. In parts of the world like Sudan, where displaced girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, many are ostracised from families and communities because of the traumatic injuries brought about by rape.

CARE’s report highlights the stories of girls such as Walaa, an aspiring Syrian filmmaker who is telling her own family’s refugee story, and Marwa, who was once forced into child labor in Jordan but now has a chance to attend school and pursue her dreams.

CARE is urging its supporters to sign a petition and call on lawmakers to protect U.S. foreign assistance that saves lives and equips girls with the tools they need to overcome the threats routinely faced in emergencies.

In concert with International Day of the Girl’s official UN theme this year — empowering girls in crisis — the multimedia report lists the worst refugee crises for girls that have started or grown worse since the UN created that special day for girls 6 years ago.

The crises are ranked in order of total girls displaced, both across national borders as refugees and within their countries as internally displaced people, or IDPs. Read the report and share it at care.org/farfromhome.

The statistics are startling. CARE has found that as many as two-thirds of women and girls have suffered physical or sexual violence in conflict-ravaged areas of South Sudan. Girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school in conflict-affected countries than their counterparts in conflict-free countries. And in Northeast Nigeria, Boko Haram is four times more likely to deploy girl bombers than boys.

Meanwhile, early marriage rates have soared during the war in Yemen: now more than two-thirds of Yemeni girls are married off before they turn 18.

Lee continued:

The huge number of displaced people in the world is one of the greatest humanitarian challenges of our time, and girls are hit the hardest. This International Day of the Girl, we must recognise their courage, and think about how we can help them overcome these appalling circumstances.

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