The U.N. Refugee Agency warned on International Women's Day that the coronavirus pandemic is depriving many refugees, displaced and stateless women and girls of their livelihoods and their futures, with poverty threatening the lives of many.
"The unprecedented socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic are leaving many lives in peril. We are seeing extremely worrying increases in reports of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, forced marriages, child labor and adolescent pregnancies," said U.N. High-Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi on Monday.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have proved catastrophic for refugee girls' education. Girls all around the world have been forced to drop out of school. Child marriages are also increasing as a result and are incompatible with getting an education. One of the main reasons for the situation is rising poverty which is leading to increased tensions in homes and communities. With the growing amount of violence and sexual exploitation, education is a luxury for most refugee girls.
"Many girls are being forced to drop out of school and into work, sold off or married," said the UNHCR's protection chief, Gillian Triggs.
The UNHCR called on governments to focus on these dangers and support the involvement and leadership of refugee, displaced and stateless women. Involving women and girls in decisions that impact their lives, families and communities are essential to uphold their human rights, ensure their protection and support their empowerment, the agency said in a statement.
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