As the Syrian armed conflict has entered its tenth year, challenges related to protracted displacement, shrinking livelihoods, collapsing economies, and weak protection frameworks, have yielded various consequences for women living in Syria’s neighboring countries. Compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges have provided a fertile ground for gender-based discrimination and violence to intensify against women in both host and refugee communities.
Against this backdrop, research has documented a sharp rise in domestic, sexual, and psychological violence against women. As confinements and lockdowns have resulted in the closure of appeal and rescue services, many women living in challenging urban and social contexts have been unable to seek help when their lives and wellbeing were at stake. Within this climate, pre-existing discriminatory legal frameworks and social practices have added various layers of complexity, further marginalizing women’s contributions and leading often to their exclusion from public, economic, and social spheres.
Shedding light on the cumulative shocks and overlapping crises that Syria’s neighbouring countries have recently gone through and their implications for women, the Madad for Women program produced under the leadership of the EuroMed Feminist Initiative the regional report Engendering the Crisis Response in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Funded by the European Union (EU), through the Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU MADAD Fund, the report has the broader objective of feeding into the research and policy-orientated findings of the program “Strengthening access to protection, participation and services for women refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs), and women in the host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq”. To that end, the report has scrutinized the Regional Resilience and Refugee Plan (3RP), as well as the national strategies that Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq have developed in applying a comprehensive gender-sensitive approach to policymaking, service provision, economic integration, and legal protection. It has also thoroughly unpacked the various social, cultural and political challenges that these countries have grappled with when it comes to tackling gender-based violence (GBV), and providing opportunities for empowerment and protection to women in both refugee and host communities.
Organized on December 1, 2020, an online roundtable bringing together key stakeholders in policy, civil society, academia and grassroots organizations in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq sought to disseminate and critically reflect on the overarching findings of the report. Its objective was three-fold: provide a cross-comparative national assessment of Lebanon’s, Jordan’s and Iraq’s strategies in combating GBV, convey critical insights into the challenges that have thwarted a holistic gender approach across the three countries, and discuss lessons learned and best practices in “engendering the crisis response” in Syria’s neighbouring countries.