Vulnerable refugees, especially children and women, are exposed to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) on a daily basis. The increasingly difficult socio-economic situation, the downward trend in the resources allocated to refugee protection and assistance programmes, including reductions in food rations over the last five years, are factors that aggravate refugees' vulnerability and exposure to SGBV.
The negative effects of SGBV on the refugees' physical, mental and psychological health demand that rapid, coordinated and effective interventions be carried out by all actors so as to affect favourably the protection environment.
This annual report elaborates on the incidents of SGBV among the refugees in Chad during 2016 as well as the different prevention and response actions against SGBV undertaken by UNHCR and partners.
The data in this report were collected by UNHCR and various partners in the 19 camps hosting a total of 393,161 Sudanese, Central African, Nigerian, Congolese and other nationalities for the period 01 January to 31 December 2016.
Despite the slight decrease in the number of observed incidents in 2016 among the refugee population compared to 2015, the results of the analysis of the data remain worrying.
UNHCR recorded a total of 1,247 incidents of SGBV during 2016, an estimated rate of 0.31% of all refugees in Chad.
However, we feel that these figures are underestimated because of lack of information related to several other underlying socio-cultural norms.
Women and girls remain the most affected by this type of violence given the social status ascribed to them by the communities, their gender, their weak physical and legal defense capacity and their major involvement in the search for "even negative" coping mechanisms for the subsistence of their households.
Indicators show that women remain less represented and less active in the various community management structures (about 30%). Also they have very limited participation in the community strategic decision making processes. They instead opt for the understandable choice of dedicating themselves to income-generating activities for the subsistence of their household rather than participate in the voluntary activities of community management mechanisms.
It is therefore vital that UNHCR and partners review the community-based protection approach in order to build on, and enhance the contribution of refugees to their own protection.
As to the relative importance of the typology described under III (Definitions), physical violence remains the SGBV most encountered in the refugee camps, followed by psychological violence. These forms of violence are usually perpetrated on women by their spouses or on children by their parents and neighbors.
Rape, exploitation and sexual assault account for 14.9% of all SGBV cases recorded in 2016.
UNHCR and partners have stepped up efforts to monitor, counter and raise awareness about female genital mutilation.
Although the practice persists, there is a significant reduction in cases recorded in 2016, ie 1.2% of all SGBVs identified, as compared to 2015. Despite this downward trend, this practice continues to mostly affect refugee girls.
The challenges identified in 2016 with regard to the overall response, namely adequate security and confidentiality of the victims, access to legal and psychosocial services, continued in 2016 to affect the quality of services available to, and provided to victims. Thus, only 1.28% of victims in need of safe houses had access to the service, 6.49% of victims had access to legal services, 26.06% were attended to by the police, 30.15% had access to material support, 39.69% consulted for medical care and 78.9% consulted the psychosocial services.
The situation described in this report reinforces the need for UNHCR and partners to actively pursue in 2017 activities around SGBV identification, response and prevention in refugee camps in order to reduce and provide enhanced protection to refugee women, men, girls and boys.