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  • Writer's pictureSarah Taal

Forced Migration, SGBV and Covid-19 Report

Baobab connected survivors to the University to engage with this difficult issue. I hope there is change, so that the women who spoke out get the help they need, and protect others coming through the system.

Full report on our raising awareness, research page.

Executive Summery:

Forced migrant survivors of SGBV constitute some of the most marginalised groups within countries of refuge. This report explores the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on forced migrant survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and the organisations which support them across the five countries involved in the SEREDA project; the UK, Turkey, Tunisia, Sweden and Australia. Interviews with 52 survivors and 45 service providers identified a number of effects associated with the pandemic which impacted on the lives of forced migrants and survivors of SGBV, undermining their coping, recovery, ability to integrate and potentially increasing their vulnerability to further abuse and exploitation. The study identified the impact of the emergency at three levels:

  • those which are likely to affect the general population;

  • those that are likely to be specific to forced migrants, and;

  • those that arise because of the intersection of forced migration with SGBV.

In the interests of protecting public health and ensuring individuals' rights, this report offers the immediate recommendations to governments during social distancing measures, including:

  • Ensure social protection and basic safety nets for all forced migrant populations regardless of legal status;

  • Ensure access to universal health for all; revoke all medical charges;

  • Ensure availability of emergency accommodation and safe shelter for all survivors of violence. Also, as countries begin to ease pandemic restrictions and move toward recovery, we include recommendations for longer term measures to governments and service providers, including:

  • Mainstream a gender perspective in response, recovery and preparedness plans and include specific measures for forced migrant SGBV survivors;

  • Expand women's economic empowerment programmes to support survivors to become self-reliant, and decrease dependency on aid;

  • Design interventions in ways that support survivors' coping and recovery mechanisms through consultation with survivors and those who work with them.

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