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.
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.
In June 2009, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) released a report, No Refuge, Access Denied, which outlined the severe risks Zimbabweans took in order to cross the border, the dangerous conditions under which they lived once they reached South Africa, and their lackof access to health care.