Many do not have documents, they are forced to live in refugee camps, or in the territory where they fled from the Assad regime. In a foreign land, they cannot confirm their identity, qualifications and get a job. They are not expected at home either.
More than 2.5 million people in Syria have been forced to flee their homes during the 10 years of war in the country. It is difficult to say how many of them were women, but the count goes to tens of thousands. Two human rights organizations - the Dutch peacekeeping organization PAK and the French “ Women now for developement” - released a report on the situation of forcibly displaced women.
As you know, during the war the least protected strata of the population - women, children, old people - suffer the most. And before they were forced to leave their homes and set out on an unknown path, their humanitarian rights were not protected in any way: they lived under the bombing, often under blockade conditions, could not study and heal, lacking everything - from food to clothing. , medicines and elemental soaps. But that was not the end of their suffering. From time to time, the Assad regime and the opposition entered into ceasefire agreements, and then the Syrian authorities forcibly sent women whose husbands fought against Assad, and their families, as well as anyone who protested against the Damascus regime, to Idlib or Aleppo.
The report quotes a refugee who was expelled from East Ghouta in 2018:
“The move was impossible to refuse; that's what we were forced to do. We had two options: to die in the basement from the bombing, or at the hands of the regime in prison, or to experience all kinds of humiliation in evacuation centers created by the regime. And then a decision was made about the forced displacement, and we had to come to terms with it, because we had no other choice".
Now many of them, who find themselves in the territory controlled by the opposition, cannot return home. The fact is that there are no international mechanisms for the return of internally displaced persons. It often happens that their houses are not there either - they are either destroyed by the war, or other people have settled in them. It is not only women who cannot confirm their rights to housing and property - hundreds of thousands of people have found themselves without documents. But the position of women is unbearable, because Syrian legislation discriminates against them, and property, as a rule, belongs to the men of the family, and women are not able to prove their rights after the death or disappearance of men of the family.
“Some women, especially activists, see their survival as a curse. They feel guilty that they alone survived while their loved ones died. Others think so too. They feel dead inside, especially when, for security reasons, they cannot communicate with their relatives living in the territories controlled by the Syrian regime”, - the authors of the report write.
Even if the women ended up not in Idlib or Aleppo, but in refugee camps in Turkey or Lebanon, this does not save them. For lack of identity documents, they can be deported back to Syria. In addition, they cannot receive medical treatment, study, or seek employment. Women without documents are easy prey for scammers, robbers and rapists. Many of them are sexually abused in the simplest life situations - when renting a house, looking for a job, trying to get medical help. Torn out of their familiar environment, women have no one to turn to for help, they cannot create any new social circle in a foreign land. Job search often turns into humiliation and bullying. Often employers require proficiency in English or advanced computer skills in positions that women could do without them at home. Many people despair:
“The women say they are tired of explaining that they had no choice whether or not to leave home. Because of this, some women try to avoid communicating with representatives of the host communities, because they cannot stand such reproaches, even tacit ones".
The vast majority of forcibly displaced women do not have access to legal services and cannot defend themselves against violence and arbitrariness.
Human rights defenders appeal to all humanitarian organizations, regardless of their direction of activity, to support women and call on the world community to recognize the forced displacement of civilians as a war crime and a crime against humanity. Human rights activists say that women should become full participants in the processes in which their fate is decided.