Millennium Development Goals and the Protection of Displaced and Refugee Women and Girls


Akram, Susan. 2013. “Millennium Development Goals and the Protection of Displaced and Refugee Women and Girls.” Laws 2 (3): 283–313.

Author: Susan Akram


The international protection regime of refugee, stateless and displaced women and girls has significant deficiencies. As refugees and displaced persons, women and girls experience unique challenges. They suffer abuse disproportionately as women through rape, human trafficking, and female genital mutilation. Women and girl refugees face greater challenges and risks to safety at every stage of displacement: in refugee camps, in urban spaces, in transit to safe haven, and in the process of obtaining legal status. They are frequently at the mercy of male family members in making claims to refugee and asylum status, as females are often unable to obtain necessary documentation and navigate barriers to the asylum process that uniquely disfavor women’s claims. This paper argues that the UN must expand the scope of the Millennium Development Goals to specifically include state responsibility towards refugees and displaced persons in their territories, without regard to their legal status. Until the international regime designed to protect refugees and displaced persons closes the gaps in addressing female refugees and displaced persons’ unique vulnerabilities, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals should be reoriented to include state responsibility to meet these deficiencies.

Keywords: refugee women, refugee girls, Millennium Development Goals, female genital mutilation, rape, displacement

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Rape, Trafficking, Human Trafficking

Year: 2013

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