Trapped by Inequality: Bhutanese Refugee Women in Nepal
Human Rights Watch
New York: Human Rights Watch
v.15 n.8, 2003, 77 pages
Documents the pervasive problem of gender-based abuse experienced by Bhutanese refugee women who are trapped by the bureaucracy of housing and ration card distribution administered under the male head of household in the refugee camps where they live. The camps, governed jointly by the government of Nepal and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), register women with their husband, brother, or father with very few single, divorced, or widowed women registered independently. If domestic violence or rape occurs, the women cannot access food, clothing, or housing. Access to aid is also restricted if the father of the child is not a refugee but the mother is. Reform of the camp registration and ration distribution system by the government of Nepal will support women who need to leave abusive homes. UNHCR can address gender-based violence by demanding independent access to humanitarian aid and adhere to strict retribution for sexual violence offenses as well as increase information campaigns and outreach programs.