Refugee Women: Key to the Global Compact on Refugees Logo

Developed by Associate Professor Eileen Pittaway and Dr Linda Bartolomei, Graphics by Damayanthi Muthukumarage, Website by Anja Wendt

What is this Resource Kit and why is it necessary?

“The programme of action is underpinned by a strong partnership and participatory approach, involving refugees and host communities, as well as age, gender, and diversity considerations, including: promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls; ending all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation and abuse,  and harmful practices; facilitating the meaningful participation of youth, persons with disabilities and older persons; ensuring the best interests of the child; and combating discrimination.”

See UNHCR Executive Committee (ExCom) Conclusion No. 108 (LIX) (2008), (f)-(k). Global Compact on Refugees. 2018 See UNHCR Executive Committee (ExCom) Conclusion No. 108 (LIX) (2008), (f)-(k). Global Compact on Refugees, 2018

Easy to say and Hard to Implement

Refugee Participation, Women’s Refugee Led Organisations, Lived Experience, An Effective response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence, A Human Rights Based Approach, Gender Equality, Age Gender and Diversity and Community Development, from Humanitarian Aid to Development models are buzz words and phrases in the current discourse about refugee protection.  They are all reflected in the aspirations and commitments in the Global Compact on refugees and come under the broad umbrella of “Social Inclusion”.

They are easy to say, but often very difficult to define and implement. Sadly because of this, and despite the good intent, they are often just words or acronyms, easy to tick as acknowledged in policy, but absent in program design and implementation.

Social Inclusion – A useful definition

Social Inclusion Venn Diagramm

Social inclusion refers to the active and meaningful participation of refugees in the social, economic, cultural, and political aspects of the host society. It takes a human rights approach, treating refugees with respect, fostering a sense of belonging and empowering them to contribute positively to society at a local national and international level, through their inclusion and advocacy. Jennifer Hyndman refers to it as the process whereby immigrants or refugees become participants in particular sub-sectors of society: education, labour market, welfare system, political representation etc. The emphasis is on active and conscious processes: that is policies of public agencies or employers, as well as on the role of the newcomers themselves.
(Hyndman 2011, p. 36 Research Summary on Resettled Refugee Integration in Canada https://www.unhcr.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/RPT-2011-02-resettled-refugee-e.pdf. Toronto: Centre for Refugee Studies, York University).

Social inclusion allows people to fully participate in their community and fosters peaceful societies.
UNHCR Social Inclusion of Refugees https://www.unhcr.org/sites/default/files/legacy-pdf/5fc126354.pdf

This Resource and suite of Tools has been developed with refugee groups, and a wide range of key stakeholders.  It is intended to provide a framework for practitioners to develop workable definitions of each of these concepts, and to apply them effectively in the field.

An important lesson from the research is that they cannot be separated out, they are interlinked, and need to be addressed collectively.

Unless this happens little can change.