In the recommendations that follow we highlight steps that need to be taken and monitored to protect refugee women from domestic and sexual violence. In Tanzania, unhcr has already taken preliminary steps in this direction. These recommendations are intended to be seen as benchmarks against which the actions of unhcr and host governments can be monitored to ensure that the human rights of refugee women are protected.
* Adopt and implement concrete policy guidelines on domestic violence to direct staff on how to respond to cases of domestic violence, and monitor their implementation in all camps. These guidelines on domestic violence should, among other things, (1) include directions to medical and community services staff to screen women to identify victims of domestic violence; (2) call for staff to conduct preventive education programs on domestic violence aimed at all refugees; (3) ensure that victims of domestic violence are provided with full information about procedures for obtaining alternate shelter, food ration cards, legal redress, and protection in the event that they want to leave their husbands or partners; and (4) require staff to refer and follow up on all assault cases with the local police and courts.
* UNHCR should also delete section 3.5 of its unhcr Sexual Violence against Refugees: Guidelines on Prevention and Response (hereafter: Sexual Violence Guidelines), which discourages unhcr staff from intervening in sexual violence cases occurring in the home and provide more constructive direction to staff on how best to intervene in situations of marital rape and other domestic abuse.
* Provide greater guidance and support to state justice systems to help ensure that refugee women victims of domestic and sexual violence have effective recourse to redress.
* Ensure that refugee-run dispute resolution mechanisms (such as the abashingatahe in the Tanzanian camps) are instructed that cases involving acts of violence, whether committed in domestic and non-domestic settings, are beyond their jurisdiction and must be referred to the criminal justice authorities for investigation and prosecution.
* Provide alternative fuel sources for refugees in camps to avoid the risk of women being exposed to sexual violence and attack when they leave the camps to collect firewood.
* Ensure that the Gender Advisor for Refugee Women is empowered to ensure that the concerns of refugee women receive high-level priority within unhcr. In particular, the Gender Advisor for Refugee Women should be given authority and a remit to require full compliance by UNHCR field and headquarters staff with its policies on protection of refugee women, and to monitor such compliance. A set of universal indicators should be established to monitor programs for consistency with the Guidelines on Refugee Women and with the Sexual Violence Guidelines.
* Ensure that the existing Guidelines on Refugee Women are more consistently and expeditiously implemented in all refugee settings, including through the following ways: (1) provide ongoing training for all relevant unhcr staff, especially community services and protection officers, prior to their deployment in the field, on appropriate responses to and preventive measures against domestic violence, rape, and other crimes of sexual violence; (2) ensure that all divisions of unhcr monitor and regularly share information with respect to the protection of refugee women, including field staff and at the headquarters level, the regional bureaus, the Divisions of International Protection Inspection and Evaluation, Technical and Operational Support, and Programme and Technical Support; (3) facilitate greater nongovernmental organization (ngo) involvement in monitoring the protection of refugee women by conducting information sharing and training workshops, at both the headquarters and field levels, with ngo and unhcr staff on protection of refugee women; and (4) hold unhcr staff responsible for applying the Guidelines on Refugee Women from the onset of any refugee emergency.
* As was done by recruiting an international security liaison officer to coordinate and monitor police officers deployed to the Tanzanian camps, ensure that there is a staff person responsible for coordinating all unhcr's sexual and other gender-based violence (sgbv) programs in the camps in order to ensure that programs are consistently monitored andimplemented. The sgbv coordinator should design a work plan for all staff of unhcr, ngos, and implementing partners, to maximize effectiveness and improve coordination, cooperation, and non-duplication of activities.
* Establish food monitoring committees composed of refugees, ngo representatives, and unhcr staff to monitor food management at household levels in order to better ensure that women and children receive their allocated food supply and to prevent refugee men from selling or otherwise misappropriating ration food given for their families.
* On a periodic and timely basis in each camp, identify women victims of domestic violence who may have problems coming forward on their own and offer them any necessary assistance and protection.
* Carry out a study on the viability of establishing shelter homes in the refugee camps to provide victims of domestic violence with safe shelter when they need to hide from their abusers.
* Train all new staff, including police deployed to refugee camps, on the law and services available for rape and domestic violence victims. Inform all new staff and police about their expected duties, including the duty to protect refugees from sexual and domestic violence.
* Compile and maintain in a timely and consistent manner data on all reported incidents of domestic and sexual violence in the camps, showing the number of victims, their ages, and their gender.
To the Tanzanian Government
To protect women refugees from sexual and domestic violence, the Tanzanian government should:
* Ensure that police investigate incidents of violence against women and are given sufficient guidance and training on steps they must follow in the collection of evidence in rape and domestic violence cases. To achieve this objective, develop and communicate policy guidelines directing the police, prosecutors, and magistrates on ways to investigate, prosecute, and punish rape and domestic violence.
* Discipline officers who neglect, dismiss, or attempt to discourage women victims of violence from pursuing their cases.
* Where possible, provide more refugees with plots of land for small-holder cultivation to supplement their relief food supplies. This will diminish the need for refugees to leave the camps to work, farm, or trade and may ease the growing tensions between refugees and Tanzanians.
To International Donors
To ensure high standards of response to sexual and domestic violence in refugee camps globally, as well as in Tanzania, international donors, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, and the member states of the European Union should:
* Continue to provide earmarked financial and logistical support to unhcr and host governments to improve programs designed for the protection of refugee women from sexual and domestic violence.
* Actively call on unhcr to (1) better implement its existing Guidelines on Refugee Women; (2) adopt explicit guidelines to direct staff on how to prevent and respond to domestic violence in refugee settings; and (3) give the Gender Advisor for Refugee Women the authority to monitor and ensure compliance with unhcr's stated policies on protection of refugee women in all unhcr field offices.
* Provide funding, training, and other support to the Tanzanian government to enable it to adopt policies (including those recommended above) to address better sexual and domestic violence against refugee women. The Tanzanian law enforcement and judicial systems are currently overburdened and underfunded. Greater international support for the judiciary and police is required, including, among other things, for training in refugee and human rights law and for programs on preventing, investigating, and prosecuting violence against women.
* Fund alternative fuel sources for refugees in the Tanzanian camps to avoid the risk of exposing women to sexual attacks when they leave the camps to collect firewood.
* Support studies of the viability of establishing shelter homes in the Tanzanian refugee camps to provide victims of domestic violence with safe shelter when they need to hide from their abusers.
* Provide funding to support the appointment of a coordinator for all unhcr's sexual and gender-based violence programs in the Tanzanian camps to ensure that these programs are consistently monitored and implemented in all camps.