Reasons for Resettlement
Women and girls face unique or gender-related forms of persecution, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), which may force them to leave their home country. UNHCR considers a woman to be at risk if she has protection problems particular to her gender and lacks effective protection normally provided by male family members. They may be single parents, unaccompanied women or accompanied by family members (male and female).
Refugee women also face unique issues and challenges once they are in a country of asylum, including:
- Inadequate or unequal access to assistance and services.
- Marginalization and discrimination due to the position of women and girls in the country of asylum.
- Lack of access to livelihoods and legal systems which do not uphold the rights of women.
- Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Refugee women in the BVOR program may have experienced one or more of these challenges during their refugee journey and could mean they are particularly vulnerable and in need of resettlement.
LGBTQI or Diverse Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Persecution
Refugees may face persecution, threats and challenges because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, including:
- Violence and harassment, including from family members, friends, the authorities, and non-state actors.
- Intolerance and discrimination due to cultural and societal norms, including when seeking services and support, such as accommodation, healthcare, and employment.
- Inappropriate questioning when claiming refugee status in a country of asylum.
- Lack of protection from the authorities, arbitrary detention, and social exclusion.
- Laws criminalizing LGBTQI or SOGIE identity, expression, and association.
- Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
These challenges may continue throughout their refugee journey, even in the country of asylum, making them distinctly vulnerable and in need of resettlement.
Refugees may be forced to leave their home because they were persecuted due to their political beliefs, identity, expression, or affiliation. This includes threats, harassment and violence from the authorities and non-state actors.
Religious or Ethnic Minorities
Persons belonging to certain religious groups or ethnic minorities may be targeted, discriminated, and persecuted by the authorities and non-state actors in their home country. The treatment they are subjected to may include threats, harassment, violence, arbitrary detention, torture, and summary executions.
Refugees fleeing their home country because of these reasons may also experience these challenges throughout their refugee journey, including in the country of asylum, which may limit their ability to locally integrate.
Displacement due to War or Conflict
Refugees are regularly displaced by armed conflict, including wars between two or more countries and internal conflicts between government forces and one or more-armed groups.
Examples of countries that have had recent conflicts that caused refugees to flee include Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.
The precarious and dangerous nature of armed conflict means that refugees are forced to seek safety in other countries and may not be able to return and live safely in their home country. They may also not be granted adequate physical and legal protection in the country of asylum and may have limited access to social and economic rights and access to the services and support they require.
Refugees displaced by conflict need to be resettled, so they can rebuild their lives in safety and peace.
Human Rights Defenders
Human rights defenders are people who promote, protect or strive for human rights, either individually or collectively with others. Human rights defenders promote and protect many human rights concerns, including:
- The right to life, dignity, liberty, and equality.
- Access to social, economic, and cultural rights such as employment, healthcare, and adequate standards of living.
- Freedom of thought, expression, religion, and association.
- Rule of law and access to justice, ensuring summary executions, torture, arbitrary arrest, and detention are not used.
- Discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or ethnicity.
Human rights defenders may protect the rights of certain groups, such as women, persons with disabilities, indigenous persons and the LGBTQI community. Their activities may include conducting investigations, gathering information and reporting on violations to bring them to the attention of the public and governments, supporting victims, advocating for policies and education and outreach.
Human rights defenders may be targeted, harassed, and persecuted by the authorities and non-state actors as a means of dissuading them from their work. Human rights defenders, including their families, have suffered reprisals and have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, tortured, summarily executed, victims of false accusations and unfair trials and convictions. Because of this, human rights defenders may be forced to leave their home country and it may be unsafe for them to return.