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Feminisation of a Tragedy: Syria's women and girls' journey to safety

Gender Institute and LSE SU Student Action for Refugees (STAR) Expert Panel Discussion

Date: Monday 23 June 2014
Time: 6-7.30pm
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speakers: Professor Dawn Chatty, Jane Gordon, Amanda Gray, Latefa Narriman Guemar
Chair: Dorothea Baltruks 

Syrian women and girls who have escaped the conflict in Syria are exposed to serious risks during their journey to find sanctuary both in refugee camps or in Europe. As refugees in camps and cities in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, those forcibly displaced women and girls report sever forms of gender-based violence, such as forced and early marriage, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, exploitation and abuse. Once in Europe women seeking asylum based on their gender may face detention and destitution which are also strongly gendered. This event marks the celebration of refugee week 2014. A panel of a distinguished scholar and NGOs activists will speak on what it has become the world's biggest refugee crisis of all time.

Professor Dawn Chatty is a social anthropologist whose ethnographic interests lie in the Middle East, particularly with nomadic pastoral tribes and refugee young people. Her research interests include a number of forced migration and development issues such as conservation-induced displacement, tribal resettlement, modern technology and social change, gender and development and the impact of prolonged conflict on refugee young people. Dawn is both an academic anthropologist and a practitioner, having carefully developed her career in universities in the United States, Lebanon, Syria and Oman. Following the award of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship, Dawn spent the period October 2005–September 2007 researching and writing a manuscript on Dispossession and Forced Migration in the Middle East. 

Jane Gordon is an independent human rights barrister. Jane qualified first as a litigation solicitor before transferring to the Bar of England & Wales In 2001. She was judicial assistant to the Lord Chief Justice in the first year of the Human Rights Act 1998, and is a former gender advisor / SGBV investigator with the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria. Jane serves on the sexual and gender-based violence expert roster for UN Women and Justice Rapid Response and is a member of the UK Stabilisation Unit's Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative expert team. Jane is currently working as human rights investigator with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic.

Amanda Gray Meral is currently working for UNHCR in London, having just returned from mission in Baghdad, Iraq. She is a lawyer by training and has worked for UNHCR in the UK since 2010. Prior to UNHCR she worked as a solicitor at a national law firm and for a short stint at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London. She is the office lead on gender issues and as part of that role has spearheaded UNHCR engagement with the Home Office in terms of both decision making and policy responses to LBGT asylum seekers. She has also been engaged in UNHCR's work on LGBT and asylum at a regional level in Western Europe. 

Latefa Guemar is a visiting fellow at the LSE Gender Institute. Latefa has made an important contribution to the recent (2011) review of gender / women's issues in Country of Origin information for making decision on asylum applications; Latefa has also undertaken research on the conduct of asylum interviews at UKBA looking at the range of issues , including gender, sexuality, religion, and age, which might impact upon the ability of asylum applicants to discuss their experiences; On the impact of forced migration on women's mental health; On the decision making of asylum seekers to come in the UK Latefa has a particular interest in gender issues in forced migration, Diasporas and identities. She is also a research associate for the Centre of Migration Policy Research at Swansea University.

This event is free and open to all with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries email d.j.baltruks@lse.ac.uk.  

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