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Lebanon Humanitarian Fund helps tackle gender-based violence

25 Sep 2019


Displacement increases the risk of violence. More than 1 million Syrians are living as refugees in Lebanon, many in settlements such as this one, located in the Bekaa valley in eastern Lebanon.?Credit: UNDP Lebanon/Rana Sweidan??

Gender-based violence (GBV) is one of the most widespread and devastating human rights violations, and yet the issue is sometimes not given enough attention in humanitarian settings. The risk of GBV increases in situations of displacement. Hosting more than 1 million refugees from Syria and over 300,000 Palestinian refugees, Lebanon is facing an increase of violence in all its forms. The?Lebanon Humanitarian Fund?is helping survivors of GBV through its support to humanitarian actors in the country.

A study by UN Women has shown that 38 per cent of female refugees from Syria believe that violence against women has increased since the start of the crisis. Constituting 93 per cent of all reported victims of GBV, women and girls are clearly most at risk.?It is estimated that?1 in 3 women worldwide will experience physical or sexual abuse. Moreover, 1 in 5 displaced women living in a humanitarian crisis has experienced sexual violence.

Himaya, a Lebanon Humanitarian Fund partner, works to provide child protection and gender-based violence services. Credit: Himaya

All projects supported by the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund must include measures and systems that prevent GBV and other forms of abuse. Although funds to GBV survivors are increasing, there are still immediate needs that must be covered and funding gaps to fill. It is up to the humanitarian community – from local grass-root women’s organizations to international organizations, donors and governments – to work on this together.

Challenges ahead

Humanitarian partners globally have received only a small share of the necessary funds requested for 2019. Moreover, only 1 per cent of funding to UN humanitarian plans supports GBV prevention and response activities.

On the other hand, more attention is being given to the issue of GBV. At a conference on ‘Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Crises’ held in May 2019, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said: “Thirty-five years ago, when I started this sort of work, these issues were barely recognized or acknowledged. They were a hidden horror. Well, these issues are not hidden anymore.”?