The final report of the research project “Gender relations in Confined Space”, led by Susanne Buckley-Zistel at the Center for Conflict Research, Philipps-University Marburg and funded by the German Foundation for Peace Research, has been published today.
The report is available online.
The research project Gender Relations in Confined Spaces focused on the scope, forms and conditions of sexual and gender-based violence against women in conflict-related refugee camps. The aim of the project was to understand patterns of sexual and gender-based violence in camps as well as the impact of aid and camp structures on refugees, gender relations and violence. To this end, the project employed an explorative research design with a case study of Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in Uganda, working mainly with refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A high prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence was found in Kyaka II. The main forms of violence were acts, attempts and threats of sexual violence, domestic violence, denial of access to resources and early and forced marriages. Violence was primarily perpetrated by male refugees against female refugees, but data reveal a more complex victim-perpetrator-structure. Staff of humanitarian and governmental agencies were also among the perpetrators and male refugees among the victims. Although the refugees were settled in the camp for protection and assistance, the humanitarian structures imposed limitations and restrictions on them. Fully independent lives with economic, social and political space to prosper rarely existed, and refugees relied on aid services. Considering the long periods they had to stay in the camp, this caused challenges for them. The project found that violence was perpetrated, among other reasons, to gain or maintain power, to punish women, due to alcohol, and because of limited livelihoods in the camp. Risks of sexual and gender-based violence were, however, not limited to the camp but they continued and were connected during conflict, flight and encampment.