Bushra became the one millionth registered refugee from the Syrian civil war this week. Photo: UNHCR/March 2013[/caption]Thousands of women will cross the borders of Syria on International Women’s Day to join Bushra, who this week became the one millionth Syrian refugee. According to UNHCR more than 472,000 women and girls have now fled Syria to neighbouring countries.
Bushra, a 19 year-old mother of two, became the one millionth registered refugee from the Syrian civil war when she registered with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in the Lebanese city of Tripoli this week.
Bushra escaped from the city of Homs several weeks ago and has since been forced to live in Tripoli, sharing a room with 20 other people. She hasn’t heard from her husband in over a year and is struggling to come to terms with her new life in exile.
Australia for UNHCR says Bushra’s story was one of millions of stories of refugee women caught in escalating conflicts across the world.
“The United Nations Refugee Agency continues to deal with multiple emergencies with crises in the Sahel region of Africa, in Syria and in Mali as a result of war and drought,” said Australia for UNHCR National Director, Naomi Steer. “An estimated 80 per cent of refugees are women and children, which brings another level of challenge in caring for and meeting their needs.”
“In crisis situations, women face additional threats of sexual and gender based violence, limited access to specialist reproductive healthcare, forced marriage, and changes in roles and family structures.”
“In flight situations, families can often be split up with women having to take on new roles as the head of the household, with the additional pressures of providing for children and keeping them safe,” Ms Steer said.
“International Women’s Day is a timely day to celebrate women’s achievements and resilience, but also to think about how we can collectively support women like Bushra and the millions of other refugee women across the globe.”
Donations can be made to Australia for UNHCR by calling 1300 361 288 or by visiting the website www.unrefugees.org.au