Woman at a radio station (Photo by Jeroen van Loon)

SRHR of refugees addressed at round table meeting

What can we do to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of refugees and displaced people? This was the central question at the round table meeting on 12 January with Dutch organizations in the field of development, humanitarian aid and SRHR, organized by Rutgers, KIT Health and Share-Net International.

Refugees and displaced people suffer from many SRHR related problems, like maternal death, sexual violence and sexually transmitted infections. UNFPA made this evident in its latest State of the World Population report. The round table meeting aimed to detect the gaps in the support of these groups and the best practices to improve their situation.

Focus

Rutgers presented a desk review showing that most activities regarding SRHR of refugees focus on safe motherhood and sexual and gender based violence. Sexual rights, comprehensive sexuality education, LGBT, child marriages, adolescents and male engagement get less or no attention. However, more research and better documentation of activities are needed to know what is done exactly.

Participants of the round table meeting pointed out that programmes on SRHR should meet all people’s needs, but they also acknowledged that priorities have to be set as resources are limited. The situation of adolescents and access to contraceptives were mentioned as major issues. Regardless of which problems will be addressed, it was generally agreed that a community based approach gets the best result.

Main conclusion of the meeting is that we need to know more to make a concrete action plan. More study of the gaps in the support of refugees and exchange of best practices are the next steps to be taken. A new meeting will be organized in which organizations will present their approach of  improving  SRHR.

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