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Violence against refugee women: gender oppression, Canadian policy and the international struggle for human rights

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This paper examines the nature of violence against women who are refugees, and the ways in which this violence restricts their freedom and mobility, security and well-being. It argues that to understand the nature and impact of violence against refugee women, one must also understand how gender relations inform the social, economic, cultural and political realities in their countries of origin, as well as in the countries where they seek asylum. The author develops this understanding by looking at the systems that contribute to the gender-related violence and oppression perpetrated against refugee women, and shows how Canadian refugee policies both hinder and protect refugee women's interests.

Dans cet article, l'auteure examine la nature de la violence faire aux femmes refugiees, ainsi que les facons dont cette forme de violence limitent leur liberte, leur mobilite, leur securite et leur bien-etre. L'auteure avance l'argument suivant : qu'afin de comprendre la nature et l'impacte de la violence faite aux femmes refugiees, il est egalement necessaire de comprendre comment les relations genrees affectent les realites sociale, economique, culturelle et politique autant dans leurs pays d'origine que dans le pays dans lequel elles cherchent un refuge. C'est en examinant les sytemes qui contribuent a la violence genree et a l'oppression infligee aux femmes refugiees ainsi qu'en demontrant comment les politiques canadiennes pour refugie(e)s entravent et protegent les interets des femmes refugiees que l'auteure arrive a cette conclusion.

Introduction

Since the 1985 United Nations Women's Decade Conference in Nairobi, international women's groups, particularly those from the South, have been organizing women at the grassroots and national levels to raise public consciousness on the issue of gender oppression, and lobbying governments to recognize violence against women as both a form of gender oppression and a human rights issue. In 1990, when the United Nations announced that its...