Safer and Stronger: Experiences of Refugee Women Resettled to the UK

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This resource is relevant for development and humanitarian practitioners working in the refugee resettlement process, and particularly for those working in women's empowerment or equality programming for resettled refugees. Importantly, a brief section on the experiences of women refugees with diverse SOGIE highlights specific concerns and recommendations.

This report by UNHCR presents the findings of a participatory assessment conducted by UNHCR with 143 resettled adult refugee women living in the UK. The aim of the assessment was to understand the needs and experiences of women refugees who have been resettled in the UK under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, Vulnerable CHildren’s Resettlement Scheme, and the Gateway Protection Programme (the Schemes). The report presents recommendations based on their findings that would strengthen the UK’s resettlement programme.

The report opens with a background on resettlement and the reasoning for focusing specifically on refugee women, a decision made due in part to the commitments under the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The report provides a methodological overview before moving into the findings.

The findings are presented in two broad sections: findings on experiences in country of asylum, and findings on experiences upon resettlement in the UK. Each section includes an overview of the findings, a discussion section, and recommendations for the UNHCR, IOM and other relevant institutions.

Towards the end of report a section on ‘specific groups’ discusses the unique needs and experiences of LGBTQI refugee women. A total of five women who identified as part of the LGBTQI community were interviewed. These women shared their experiences in countries of asylum–experiences that included multiple perpetrator rape, familial abandonment, and challenges in the UNHCR registration process for people whose gender differs from the one ascribed to them at birth–and experiences of resettlement. All women emphasised the negative psychological impact of their experiences in countries of origin and asylum, and noted their desire to and importance of connecting with the LGBTIQ community in the UK. Importantly, this cohort of interviewees noted that they would not be comfortable being resettled close to the community from their country of origin.

The report moves into discussions around other vulnerable groups before offering a conclusion. Recommendations are listed throughout the report.

[Quote]

"As regards their experiences in countries of asylum prior to resettlement, the women highlighted facing discrimination, stigmatisation and threats because of their sexual orientation or gender identity from both their host and refugee communities in which they lived."

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This report by UNHCR presents the findings of a participatory assessment conducted by UNHCR with 143 resettled adult refugee women living in the UK. The aim of the assessment was to understand the needs and experiences of women refugees who have been resettled in the UK under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, Vulnerable CHildren’s Resettlement Scheme, and the Gateway Protection Programme (the Schemes). The report presents recommendations based on their findings that would strengthen the UK’s resettlement programme.

The report opens with a background on resettlement and the reasoning for focusing specifically on refugee women, a decision made due in part to the commitments under the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The report provides a methodological overview before moving into the findings.

The findings are presented in two broad sections: findings on experiences in country of asylum, and findings on experiences upon resettlement in the UK. Each section includes an overview of the findings, a discussion section, and recommendations for the UNHCR, IOM and other relevant institutions.

Towards the end of report a section on ‘specific groups’ discusses the unique needs and experiences of LGBTQI refugee women. A total of five women who identified as part of the LGBTQI community were interviewed. These women shared their experiences in countries of asylum–experiences that included multiple perpetrator rape, familial abandonment, and challenges in the UNHCR registration process for people whose gender differs from the one ascribed to them at birth–and experiences of resettlement. All women emphasised the negative psychological impact of their experiences in countries of origin and asylum, and noted their desire to and importance of connecting with the LGBTIQ community in the UK. Importantly, this cohort of interviewees noted that they would not be comfortable being resettled close to the community from their country of origin.

The report moves into discussions around other vulnerable groups before offering a conclusion. Recommendations are listed throughout the report.