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Strategies and interventions on preventing and responding to violence and injuries among refugees and migrants

Guida tecnica sulle strategie di contrasto alla violenza e agli infortuni tra i rifugiati e i migranti - Copertina

2020, viii + 49 pages
ISBN: 978 92 890 5464 5
This publication is only available online

This technical guidance outlines current evidence, knowledge and best practice relating to incidences of violence and injuries among refugees and migrants in the WHO European Region. It highlights key principles, summarizes priority actions and challenges, maps existing international commitments and frameworks and provides practical policy considerations for preventing and responding to such challenges. 

With more than 70 million people forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict or generalized violence, global displacement in 2019 is at its highest since the Second World War. At the end of 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the 49 countries of its European Region hosted more than 6.47 million refugees, more than 1.24 million asylum seekers, 2.71 million internally displaced people and more than 0.5 million stateless people. Refugees and asylum seekers are among the 90.7 million international migrants in the WHO European Region, which accounted for 35% of the global international migrant population and was almost 10% of the European population.
Refugees and migrants are at risk for both unintentional injuries (e.g. boating and traffic accidents) and intentional injuries. The latter can result from intrapersonal, self-directed and collective violence, including trafficking, torture, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and exploitation. Violent incidences may occur before departure, during transit and at destination. Generally, many laws and regulations are already in place for the prevention of violence and the protection of vulnerable groups across the WHO European Region. However, problems often stem from lack of awareness of such legislative mechanisms or failure to enforce them. Moreover, violence and punitive approaches to refugees and migrants are bolstered by the current political rhetoric within the WHO European Region regarding migration; such rhetoric is a major contributory factor for risk of violence towards migrant groups and their ongoing insecurity.

This technical guidance outlines five key priority areas for intervention in order to effectively respond to and prevent violence and injuries among refugees and migrants in the WHO European Region:

• ensure safe passage for migration
• address causes of violence and injuries in transit and destination countries
• identify victims and provide care and protection
• investigate and prosecute perpetrators
• strengthen the knowledge base.

While the main intended audience of this technical guidance series are policy-makers across sectors at local, national and regional levels, the contents of this publication will also be of value for health-care practitioners and law enforcement and border protection officials.

The Technical Guidance on Strategies and Interventions on Preventing and Responding to Violence and Injuries among Refugees and Migrants was authored by Gianfranco Costanzo, Rosario Asciutto, Alessio Petrelli, Anteo Di Napoli, Andrea Cavani and Concetta Mirisola from the National Institute for Health, Migration and Poverty of Italy (INMP) and Kari Pahlman (Consultant, WHO Regional Office for Europe).
This publication was produced with contributions at all stages from experts within the Migration and Health programme of the WHO Regional Office for Europe: Santino Severoni; Jozef Bartovic (Technical Officer), who coordinated production; Kari Pahlman (Consultant); Simona Melki (Programme Assistant); Soorej Jose Puthoopparambil (Consultant) and Elisabeth Waagensen (Consultant).


Strategies and interventions on preventing and responding to violence and injuries among refugees and migrants (English)