refugee camp

Forced Migration & SRHR

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) are essential parts of everyone’s life. However, in the current national and international refugee crisis, SRHR is hardly recognized in humanitarian programmes. The Rutgers programme Forced Migration & SRHR, works to embed, integrate and mainstream SRHR programming in humanitarian settings, for young people, women and men.

Vrouw met hoofddoek en kind op de arm (Shutterstock, ZouZou)People in fragile and humanitarian settings often are confronted with problems that touch upon the broad spectrum of SRHR;

  • In general, there is a lack of knowledge of and access to information and communication about SRHR and SRHR services for (young) people.
  • Women and girls in humanitarian settings are disproportionally vulnerable for SRHR issues, such as sexual violence, including high prevalence of systematic rape as a weapon of war; (sexual) exploitation, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion, human trafficking, female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriages.
  • Due to migration, people are unfamiliar with the SRHR services in the designated host countries leading to an unmet need for family planning: this results in a relatively high prevalence rate of (unintended) pregnancies with medical complication.
  • Men and boys are often not included in SRHR services, such as gender based violence (GBV) prevention or psychosocial care. This, while feelings of failed masculinity, humiliation and a loss of personal value can even detain sexually or otherwise abused men from accessing the services they need themselves.
  • There is no, or only very limited attention paid to the special needs of LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) people.

Many refugees originate from conflict areas where sexual and reproductive health and rights are seldom prioritized, let alone in the settings they seek refuge.

Pinar Okur
Programme Lead Forced Migration & SRHR

SRHR support

By adding the knowledge and experience of the Forced Migrants & SRHR programme to existing humanitarian programmes, we can create an additional pillar of safety and trust.

Examples of SRHR support in this context are capacity building on SRHR, access to menstrual hygiene products, preventing GBV, involving (spiritual) leaders to help create awareness and deal with taboos, and access to family planning. 

While organizations currently working in fragile and humanitarian settings may have taken the first steps into implementing SRHR, we can 

  • help identify the further needs to enhance existing interventions.   
  • offer worldwide SRHR training on gender equality and empowerment to local and international health staff and training-of-trainers (ToT).
  • conduct action-based research in order to improve and mainstream implementation of SRHR in humanitarian programmes. 
  • and support in improving access to online information on sexuality and referral to services.

Extensive expertise in SRHR in fragile settings

Forced Migration & SRHR is the result of years of experience in fragile settings, in addition to our work with refugees in the Netherlands. As we have developed our programs together with women, men and youth in fragile states, our methods are not only inclusive but also culturally sensitive. Our work is especially strong on the inter-connection between humanitarian action and development aid, i.e. response preparedness and resilience building. 

Read more in this Forced Migration & SRHR brochure