Initial Assessment Report: Protection Risks for Women and Girls in the European Refugee and Migrant Crisis

Rebecca Eapen, UNHCR; Fabrizia Falcione, UNFPA; Marcy Hersh, WRC; Katharina Obser, WRC; Ali Shaar, UNFPA

Concerned by the protection risks faced by women and girls, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) undertook a joint seven-day assessment mission to Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in November 2015. This report describes the assessment’s findings and key recommendations for the European Union (EU), transit and destination country governments, humanitarian actors and civil society organizations (CSOs). The assessment found that women and girl refugees and migrants face grave protection risks and that the current response by governments, humanitarian actors, EU institutions and agencies and CSOs are inadequate. The findings emphasize the urgent need to scale up response efforts, implement innovative solutions and strengthen protection mechanisms and services across borders to adequately address the protection threats facing women and girls.

In this particular crisis, Europe’s response needs to match its international obligations, responsibilities and stated values. There is a need for the European Union, as well as relevant governments in Europe, with the support of protection and humanitarian actors, to strengthen resources dedicated to ensuring effective protection, especially for persons with specific needs and those who are at heightened risk in this crisis.