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OVERVIEW OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN SYRIA - Advocacy brief 2021

Publication

In 2020, the conflict in Syria has entered its tenth year. With more than half of Syria's population forced to seek asylum outside the country or be displaced within the country, women and girls faced a steady increase in the risks and forms of gender-based violence that affect them. The ongoing conflict, the deteriorating economic situation and the effects of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying measures, such as movement restrictions and access to services, have made 2020 a difficult year, especially for women and girls.

Lockdown measures and lack of employment opportunities have been associated with a spike in incidents of intimate partner and family violence against women and adolescent girls. Physical, emotional, and sexual violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, early and forced marriage, and denial of education and economic resources are all prevalent forms of GBV that girls and women in Syria continue to face. 

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UNFPA Regional Situation Report for the Syria Crisis - November 2020

Publication

Within the Syria crisis region, which spans the Whole of Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, there have been a total of 124,553,69 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of November 30, 2020. The highest number of confirmed cases came from Turkey (1,431,648), followed by Iraq (552,549), Jordan (219,430), Lebanon (127,944), Egypt (115,911), and Syria (7,887).

Despite the relatively low number of confirmed cases in Syria, it is worth noting that the capacity for testing throughout the country remains extremely limited. Moreover, the steadily rising number of infections clearly shows that the epidemiological situation in the country has rapidly evolved and remains extremely volatile. According to the Syrian Ministry of Health (MoH), infections among healthcare workers in Syria continue to rise, which highlights the potential for the nation’s already fragile and overstretched healthcare capacity to be further compromised. Humanitarian actors continue to receive reports that healthcare workers in some areas do not have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to exacerbate an ongoing economic crisis that has substantially increased humanitarian needs. An inter-agency socio-economic impact assessment of COVID-19 noted a major economic downturn and significant social impacts, amplified by the ongoing financial crisis in Lebanon. An estimated that 200,000 - 300,000 jobs were permanently lost, while the informal sector and businesses have been heavily impacted, with 15 percent of small and medium sized businesses reporting permanent closure. This is particularly relevant given that recent estimates suggest that 22.4 percent of households in Syria are headed by women, up from 4.4 percent in 2009. This means that over 4.5 million people are currently living in female-headed households (FHH), representing a highly vulnerable portion of the population.

 

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REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN ACTION OVERVIEW - ARAB STATES: FUNDING OVERVIEW FOR HUMANITARIAN CONTEXTS

Fact Sheet

The Arab Region is witnessing compounded humanitarian crises, the effects of which have become catastrophic. Some of these are protracted, as in Yemen, Syria, and Libya, while others have become forgotten, as in Somalia and the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed even more people behind safety lines to face gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls, who consistently bear the brunt of the challenges resulting from these crises.

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UNFPA Regional Situation Report for the Syria Crisis - October 2020

Publication

The Regional Situation Report for the Syria Crisis offers a bird’s eye view of UNFPA’s operations within the context of the Syria Crisis. The report is prepared by the UNFPA Regional Syria Response Hub in Amman, Jordan, and spans operations conducted by UNFPA offices in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, in addition to operations conducted inside Syria and managed from cross-border Turkey.
In addition to providing aggregated quantitative results for each country, the report also brings stories from the field that highlight the plight of communities inside Syria and in host countries, in addition to underscoring the positive impact of the response services provided by UNFPA in the areas of sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, youth, and others. As of February 2020, the report also covers UNFPA’s efforts to ensure continuity of operations throughout the Syria crisis region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

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OVERVIEW OF FUNDING NEEDS UNFPA REGIONAL SYRIA CRISIS RESPONSE - 21

Publication

The crisis in Syria has been globally recognized as one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. As of late 2020, more than 11.7 million people inside Syria are in need, while close to 5.7 million have taken refuge in neighbouring countries throughout the region. They continue to suffer the effects of a decade of conflict, including disruption of community networks, safety nets, and rule of law. Even as some parts of Syria stabilise, the crisis has passed a tipping point in terms of generational change, and its effects will undoubtedly continue for many years to come. This is particularly true in the case of women and girls due to the deep- rooted complexity of the issues they continue to face on a daily basis.

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UNFPA Regional Situation Report for the Syria Crisis - September 2020

Publication

The Regional Situation Report for the Syria Crisis offers a bird’s eye view of UNFPA’s operations within the context of the Syria Crisis. The report is prepared by the UNFPA Regional Syria Response Hub in Amman, Jordan, and spans operations conducted by UNFPA offices in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, in addition to operations conducted inside Syria and managed from cross-border Turkey.

In addition to providing aggregated quantitative results for each country, the report also brings stories from the field that highlight the plight of communities inside Syria and in host countries, in addition to underscoring the positive impact of the response services provided by UNFPA in the areas of sexual
and reproductive health, gender-based violence, youth, and others. As of February 2020, the report also covers UNFPA’s efforts to ensure continuity of operations throughout the Syria crisis region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19: UNFPA Best Practices and Lessons Learned in Humanitarian Operations in Arab Region

Publication

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to redefine the realities of nations throughout the world, creating new and unprecedented challenges. The pandemic and its long-term ramifications have revealed many of the structural issues that underlie societies, highlighting systemic inequalities across race, gender, socioeconomic status, and others. In humanitarian contexts, the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges already impacting communities in need, be it through health risks, the economic fallout, or on human rights and social harmony. 

This is especially true for women and girls who, as is the case with most humanitarian crises, continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic. In addition to being at higher risk of contracting the virus due to shouldering a larger portion of frontline response and caretaking responsibilities, women and girls continue to face higher risks of gender-based violence, which have been significantly heightened in light of the pandemic and its consequences. The web of violence besetting them has only expanded; movement restrictions have meant that more women and girls will face even greater difficulties accessing basic sexual and reproductive health services, while those suffering violence at home are no longer able to escape their abusers. Meanwhile, the socioeconomic fallouts have heightened the risks of exploitation and negative coping mechanisms like child and forced marriage. Additionally, as governments shift resources away from development and towards pandemic response, investments in challenging social norms that stifle the rights of women and girls will become even less of a priority, and threatens the progress achieved in past years. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, UNFPA has been aware of these risks and challenges, and has made significant changes to its programmes to ensure they are being addressed. UNFPA offices throughout the Arab states region have continued to focus on innovations and alternative solutions that guarantee the continuity of services to those in need, maintaining safe access to health facilities that provide sexual and reproductive health services while tailoring programmes to allow for continued support to survivors of gender-based violence. This document captures some of these efforts, outlining the lessons learned and offering a simple blueprint that can be replicated in other contexts.

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UNFPA Syria - COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Flash Update #8 / 01- 30 September 2020

Publication

As of October 13, 2020, the Syrian Ministry of Health (MoH) has reported 4,826  COVID-19 cases across Syria: 3,231 active, 1,364 recoveries and 231 registered deaths. The first positive case was announced on 22 March 2020, with the first fatality reported on 29 March 2020.

Highlighting the particular risks faced by healthcare workers, according to the Syrian MoH, 143 healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19. This includes 59 in Damascus30 in Lattakia; 14 in Rural Damascus; 9 in Aleppo; 7 in Hama;6 each in Quneitra, Tartous and Dara’a; 3 in Al-Hassakeh; 2 in As-Sweida; and 1 in Homs. Of particular concern, 11 healthcare workers are reported to have died, on the 3rd of September.

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EVOLUTION OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES WITHIN THE SYRIA CRISIS RESPONSE

Publication

The conflict in Syria has generated one of the most severe and protracted humanitarian crises ever faced. Now into its 10th year, over 5.5 million refugees are still registered1 in five neighbouring countries and over six million people are currently displaced within Syria. This represents the largest displacement of population in the world.

UNFPA is ensuring the overall coordination and harmonisation of the Syria Crisis Response through the UNFPA Regional Syria Crisis Response Hub (the Hub) of the Arab States Regional Office (ASRO) based in Amman, Jordan. In the context of the crisis response, the UNFPA Regional Priorities are aligned with the Strategic Plan and reflected in the Protection and Health Chapters of the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), the inter-agency plan designed to coordinate and support the efforts of the five refugee hosting countries, as well as in the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) that covers Syria and cross-border operations into Syria. The relevant overall objectives are the following: 

To prevent and respond to gender-based violence;

Strengthening Reproductive Health services in impacted areas. 

In order to gain a better understand and capture what has worked in the gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health responses in the region, the UNFPA the Regional Syria Response Hub has commissioned an analysis of the evolution of the gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health services over the past three years (2017-2020), whose methodology, main findings, recommendations, and points of advocacy are the object of this report. This report captures the main finding of this analysis and highlights interesting responses and initiatives. Based on these a set of programme and policy recommendations are made to inform future gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health programmes.

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How Changing Social Norms is Crucial in Achieving Gender Equality

Publication

UNFPA has released this compendium on social norms change to achieve gender equality, which provides a framework for programmatic approaches to norms change at scale.

This document presents some of the most promising strategies for changing social norms and achieving gender equality. A greater understanding of the conceptual background of social norms and norms change provides a schematic – a skeleton outline – for social transformation. The compendium presents the tested processes of social norms change and a programme design framework, as applied to programming to end female genital mutilation. These processes are iterative, simultaneous and self-reinforcing and can be applied to other thematic areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

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