Female refugees around the world are being subjected to various forms of abuse.
Head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Mwanza Field Unit, Elsie Mills-Tettey disclosed this on Thursday during this year’s International Women’s Day commemorations at Luwani Refugee Camp in Mwanza.
The International Women’s Day was set aside for the world to reflect on the plight of women and their role in development.
Tettey said the displaced female refugees around the world are fighting racial, cultural, and gender barriers on daily basis.
She noted that women are heavily affected in time of war and natural disasters. She said Malawi hosts about 30, 000 refugees and the, majority are women.
She said female refugees lack protection, basic services and economic empowerment which she said are recipe for gender based violence.
“Usually the men come with one wife but they marry additional women when they get here and the women are helpless. Some men even sell relief items for beer, leaving their wives and children suffering,” she said.
One of the women at the camp, Luiza Matteo thanked Malawians for allowing the refugees to live in the country.
Matteo said she ran away from numerous problems including wars in Mozambique, and prays for economic empowerment to be self-sufficient.
“At least there is peace here. We are sleeping in peace. However, we need to be empowered perhaps with businesses to be self-reliant. Sometimes the relief items do not come in time,” she said.
Member of Parliament for the area, Mary Maulidi who was the guest of honour at the function, hailed UNHCR, World Food Programme, Plan Malawi and other organisations for their support to the refugees at the camp.
Maulidi also thanked the organisations for organising the commemorations saying they will improve women’s welfare at the camp.