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Initial Assessment Report: Protection Risks for Women and Girls in the European Refugee and Migrant Crisis

For the first time since World War II, Europe is experiencing a massive movement of refugees and migrants, women, girls, men and boys of all ages, fleeing armed conflicts, mass killings, persecution and pervasive sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Each day brings new arrivals, and accurate data remains a challenge.

Concerned by the protection risks faced by women and girls, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) undertook a joint seven-day assessment mission to Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in November 2015. This report describes the assessment’s findings and key recommendations for the European Union (EU), transit and destination country governments, humanitarian actors and civil society organizations (CSOs).

The assessment found that women and girl refugees and migrants face grave protection risks and that the current response by governments, humanitarian actors, EU institutions and agencies and CSOs are inadequate. The findings emphasize the urgent need to scale up response efforts, implement innovative solutions and strengthen protection mechanisms and services across borders to adequately address the protection threats facing women and girls.