True Survivors: East African Refugee Women

Citation:

Schafer, Loveness H. 2002. “True Survivors: East African Refugee Women.” Africa Today 49 (2): 29-48.

Author: Loveness H. Schafer

Abstract:

In this paper, I explain the process asylum seekers from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Somalia went through when they applied for asylum in Malawi between 1997 and 1999. I describe how international conventions concerning refugees were carried out in practice, paying particular attention to places in the process where women refugees confronted certain hardships. More specifically, I explore the ways in which gender-based violence, rape, and other harms particularly committed against women were dealt with in the processing of asylum applications in Malawi. I argue that both international conventions and individual host countries should revamp laws and mechanisms for admitting refugees to more adequately address the problem of gender-based violence. Despite the hardships they faced, women refugees were the real survivors, because they used all their skills and wits to survive their ordeals and save themselves and their children from abuse, torture, and death.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women, Torture Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Rwanda, Somalia

Year: 2002

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