On International Women’s Day 2014, as on every day, thousands of women will be forced to flee their homes. They will join the 45 million other people worldwide who are displaced, whether due to conflict, persecution, or natural disasters. More than half of all those displaced are women and children.
As the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees turns 60, millions of refugees – confined in camps, or scraping an existence in rural areas and cities – are facing a critical humanitarian situation. Refugees’ health and lives are being put in danger as a result of restrictive government policies and serious shortfalls in assistance. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is extremely concerned by the global trend to restrict the movements of refugees and asylum seekers and to deprive them of the protection they need and are entitled to.
Since the popular uprisings and violent confrontations that have shaken the Arab world began in December 2010, some 27,000 refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented migrants from North Africa have arrived by sea on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.
For people suffering from psychological trauma as a result of violence, detention, poor living conditions, failed attempts to leave Malta and general uncertainty about the future, being able to access mental health support is crucial.
On June 10, violent clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks erupted in southern Kyrgyzstan, lasting five days, leading to major population displacement both in and outside the country. Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) began its emergency response on June 15.