As the global refugee crisis continues amid the spread of Covid-19 and economic collapse, displaced women face growing dangers in the Middle East. Women refugees and IDPs are at greater risk of domestic and gender-based violence, and many struggle with new roles as both primary income earners and sole caregivers of their children in unfamiliar environments. Additionally, sexist legal systems have become a push factor for women refugees, and insufficient legal protections exist for women refugees in many host countries.
How does the lens of gender help to understand the female migrant experience? How do changing social and economic roles impact the livelihoods and safety of displaced women? What policies and practices can be implemented to provide greater protection from violence and insecurity for women refugees?
This webinar is the second in a series on displacement during Covid-19, an initiative to highlight the perspectives and personal impacts faced by displaced people across the MENA region.
Image: Sameh Rahmi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Shaza Al Rihawi
Researcher, Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories; co-founder, Network for Refugee Voices
Shaza ALRihawi is a human rights activist and Syrian refugee based in Germany. She is the co-founder of Network for refugee voices (NRV). AlRihawi is also a steering committee member and the chairperson of the Global Refugee Led Network (GRN). AlRihawi is also a board member of the New Women Connectors and former member of European Migrant Advisory Board EMAB, an initiative of the Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees the Urban Agenda for the EU.
AlRihawi is deeply involved in human rights issues and have first-hand experience dealing with refugees and women’s crisis as she previously was working on SGBV cases with UNHCR in Syria. Prior to that, she worked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Centre for Strategic Studies in Syria. She hold a Bachelor’s degree and a post-graduate degree in sociology and a Master in psycho-social work and political science from Maxwell school-Syracuse University.
Currently AlRihawi is working as a research assistant at LIFBI Institute on a ReGES project (Refugees in the German Educational System).
In-Country Representative for Lebanon and Turkey, The Malala Fund
Miriam Azar works for Malala Fund in Lebanon and Turkey, collaborating with local NGOs to expand education initiatives for Syrian refugees and other vulnerable adolescents, especially girls. Prior to that, she focused on children’s rights, working with UNICEF for 10 years in the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, USA, and Europe. During that time, she served in the areas of humanitarian coordination, communication, child protection, gender-based violence, gender mainstreaming, advocacy and reporting. Azar also worked for two Embassies as a political researcher on the Middle East and as a project coordinator and advisor on development and humanitarian issues.
Senior advocate for women and girls, Refugees International
Devon Cone is the senior advocate for women and girls at Refugees International. Prior to joining Refugees International, Cone was the director of protection programs at HIAS where she was responsible for providing technical expertise to HIAS’ protection-related programming globally. Previous to HIAS, Cone worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon, Uganda, Egypt, and Kenya and for a variety of NGOs providing services to refugees. As part of her work, Cone has developed curriculum and led trainings on refugee protection for government officials, NGO staff, and UN agencies. At the request of the U.S. State Department, in 2015, Cone conducted an independent evaluation of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) which is responsible for choosing, vetting, and resettling refugees into the United States.
Executive director, Middle East Voices
Dalal Yassine is the Executive Director of Middle East Voices. She is a lawyer and advocate for gender and human rights for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Yassine previously worked with several Palestinian NGOs and served as the Coordinator for The Right to Work Campaign for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon. She is the co-author of The Legal Status of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon (2007). Yassine has also been a frequent media contributor in Arabic and English, including in Al Jazeera English, Al-Mayadeen, the New Arab, Al Quds, Al Akhbar, Al-Quds al-Arabi, and the Electronic Intifada.
Hafsa Halawa (moderator)
Nonresident scholar, MEI
Hafsa Halawa is an independent consultant working on political, social and economic affairs, and development goals across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Horn of Africa regions. A former corporate lawyer, Halawa has held positions in government, the UN, INGOs/NGOs, corporate multinationals, private firms, and think tanks. She now consults independently for a similar broad set of clients on a variety of issues, at request.