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Gender, Religion and Refugees

New MRU Policy Brief to be launched at the UN Refugee Summit on 19 September

On 19 September, the Gender, Religion and Humanitarian Responses to Refugee Policy Brief will be launched at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York.

Examination of assumptions and evidence in relation to the influences of gender and religion in responses to refugees is particularly urgent when the world faces the highest levels of displacement since the Second World War and the international humanitarian system is in flux, often unable to respond..

In this context, there is increasing interest in the roles played by faith-based organisations (FBOs) and local faith communities (LFCs) in providing assistance and protection to refugees and asylum-seekers, although this interest is also often includes concerns about
the nature and impacts of their responses to displacement.

Such concerns frequently stem from of largely negative assumptions about the relationship between religion and gender. FBOs are assumed to be more ‘conservative’ and ‘patriarchal’ than secular organizations and agencies; LFCs and faith leaders will hinder the participation of women and girls as decision-makers, whether as service providers or beneficiaries; FBOs will refuse to engage with individuals and social groups that do not comply with their dominant norms regarding gender and sexuality.

The Gender, Religion and Humanitarian Responses to Refugee Policy Brief summarises key points and recommendations for policy, practice and research emerging from debates and discussions at a Workshop convened at UCL in May 2016, bringing together 30 leading academics and humanitarian practitioners from a range of secular and faith-based organisations.

The Brief will be launched on 19 September at an event convened by the new Refugees and Forced Migration Hub, in order to widely share these key recommendations and promote further debate and dialogue.

The Hub is part of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities, of which Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Reader in Human Geography & Co-Director of UCL's Migration Research Unit, was appointed Co-Chair (Academic) in June.

Elena will be exploring these and other issues in more detail both through the activities of the Hub and in her new AHRC-ESRC research project, Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Displacement from Syria: Views from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.



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