A STATEMENT IN RECOGNITION OF THE GROWING REFUGEE CRISIS
IN EUROPE & THE MIDDLE EAST
On 19 August, World Humanitarian Day, we published information about the humanitarian crisis in Syria, where, of the more than 10.8 million people inside Syria in need of assistance, there were 432,000 pregnant women. We reported that many are fleeing the country in hopes of obtaining medical attention at facilities for displaced women in neighbouring countries, and that there were 17,000 pregnant Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 13,000 in Turkey, and 11,000 in Jordan. We reported that the antenatal, delivery and postnatal care available to displaced Syrians and refugees would only reach a fraction of these women and their newborns - if they survive.
Over the past few weeks but especially this week, European newspapers have been overflowing with stories of the refugee crisis spilling over into Eastern and Western Europe from the Middle East. Images of drowned children have suddenly awakened the consciences of many in a region where migrants, refugees and asylum seekers alike have been treated as if they were sub-human and must be made to disappear.
Humanitarian aid alone cannot possibly be expected to keep up with the rapidly growing numbers of displaced persons and refugees, both inside Syria and its closest neighbours. European citizens are acting in increasing numbers to try and convince their governments to take in more refugees. Yet the problems, both military and political, which are the responsibility of the US, European and Middle Eastern governments, as well as rebel movements - are far from being resolved.
We call on our members, especially in Europe, to join their voices with those who are calling for more emergency humanitarian aid; effective action to rescue fleeing people who are being taken advantage of by human traffickers, who are allowing them to drown at sea; and for the opening of borders and facilities to accept refugees and asylum seekers and provide them with decent living conditions until they can be safely resettled.
Sexual and reproductive heal
th needs of displaced, migrant and refugee women
For 28 September 2015, we call on Campaign members to support the efforts of the International Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health, the Women's Refugee Commission, and charities such as Médécins sans Frontières, to ensure that the sexual and reproductive health needs of displaced, migrant and refugee women are taken care of. These include safe pregnancy care before, during and after delivery; emergency obstetric care; treatment for STIs/HIV; prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and access to condoms, contraception and safe abortion. They also include safe living conditions that reduce the risk of sexual violence and abuse, such as not having to walk a long distance in the dark to a toilet.
The need for reproductive health kits for adolescent girls and women
We call on all humanitarian aid organizations to recognise the need for reproductive health kits for adolescent girls and women in humanitarian settings. These should include basics such as hygiene supplies (sanitary pads and tampons) and soap, as well as the equipment and supplies necessary to safely deliver babies in emergency settings, contraceptives, condoms, misoprostol for prevention of post-partum haemorrhage, and mifepristone and misoprostol (medical abortion) pills for any woman with an unwanted pregnancy who seeks an abortion, including but not only those resulting from rape and sexual abuse.