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Housing, land and property in the context of climate change, disasters and displacement

July 10, 2023

This brief presents the Norwegian Refugee Council's knowledge and experience in addressing housing, land and property (HLP) issues associated with climate change, disasters and displacement, including those often aggravated by conflict. It is not a comprehensive catalogue of HLP issues, nor does it present the full breadth of NRC's operations. Rather, it reflects the organisation's experience in delivering information counselling and legal assistance (ICLA), shelter and settlements and other programmes, and draws on its role as lead and co-lead of inter-agency coordination. The brief documents examples of NRC's operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mozambique, Somalia and South Sudan, countries also identified for the work of the Special Adviser.

Women as the Way Forward: Lessons from Afghan Women's Empowerment Journey—And What Can Be Done Now

June 29, 2023

Women as the Way Forward attempts to make sense of the mistakes and successes of the last several decades of policymaking, as well as what needs to be done now to prevent further disaster in Afghanistan. This is all examined through a lens of Afghan women's past and future centrality in sustainable and effective policymaking—from security to stability to economics to addressing humanitarian challenges. While the report's historical review aims to prevent the repetition of past mistakes, the core of the paper is its recommendations for the way forward. Clearly, Western governments have made assumptions about points of leverage with the Taliban that have been incorrect and overall failed to develop a coherent Afghanistan policy. Gaining a better understanding of the Taliban's ideology and goals, which I explore in this paper, is key to formulating more effective and grounded policy. Having completed high school in the same kind of extremist Pakistani madrassas that the Taliban were shaped in, I understand firsthand the extent of their radicalism.

The Taliban's War on Women: The crime against humanity of gender persecution in Afghanistan

May 25, 2023

After the Taliban seized control of Kabul in August 2021, the human rights situation of women and girls in Afghanistan deteriorated severely, despite the Taliban's initial promise to respect women's and girls' rights. The Taliban have been increasingly introducing new restrictions with the apparent aim of completely erasing women's and girls' presence from public arenas. Taliban policies have been further oppressing women and girls in almost all aspects of their lives. The widespread and systematic subjugation of girls and women in Afghanistan is a flagrant violation of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Barriers to Afghanistan’s critical private sector recovery

April 5, 2023

Afghanistan has undergone a series of complex political, economic and social changes since the return to power of the Taliban in August 2021, whereby the plight of the Afghan people has deteriorated into an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. The Taliban's stance towards women, including restrictions on female education and bans on female aid workers, have posed additional challenges to the Afghan people and the country's economic prospects, as well as to international donors and aid organisations. Since the Taliban's resumption of power, international actors have pursued policies of political and economic isolation towards Afghanistan that have contributed to the current economic crisis and the populations' reliance on humaniatrian assistance. To date, most research and policy efforts have centred on the humanitarian catastrophe and the plight of women and girls. Less attention has been placed on constraints facing trade with Afghanistan, including those negatively impacting supply chains of essential goods that are neceassry to address the basic needs of Afghan people. This report seeks to fill a knowledge gap on some of the key challenges facing Afghan trade, especially relating to food and essential goods needed for basic survival. It is based on 25 anonymised interviews carried out in mid-2022 with a range of private sector, development and banking actors operating in, or with, Afghanistan. It explores challenges associated with international targeted sanctions; financial sector derisking; shifts in domestic regulations; implications of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022; and wider trade and economic constraints. It also aims to showcase best-practice and coping strategies employed by the private sector operating in Afghanistan and generate a series of policy recommendations based on input from Afghan companies and those operating in the wider region.

Bringing Afghan Women's Voices to the Foreground in Peace and Conflict

December 30, 2022

This report brings together the extensive research data gathered by BISHNAW between 2020 and 2022 and highlights some of the key trends that have emerged over this turbulent and chaotic period in Afghanistan's recent history. The report begins by briefly outlining the development of the BISHNAW initiative and its bottom-up digital methodology. The second section of the report focuses on the project's research findings. This section is organized around the six key messages that have emerged from the research from 2020 - 2022. The messages center on the experiences, challenges, and strategies used by women around the country, shedding light on how the shifting political and economic landscape has impacted living conditions for women and girls. The report ends with a brief conclusion and reflections on the way forward.

Economic Experience of Afghans Who Arrived Through Operation Allies Welcome

August 11, 2022

The Economic Empowerment Team for U.S. Programs at the IRC worked on this report to illustrate the economic experiences and potential projected impact of Afghans who arrived through Operations Allies Welcome. This study revealed that Afghan parolees in the United States could contribute up to $200 million in taxes and $1.4 billion in earnings in their first year of employment alone. 

The Long Tail of Afghan Relocation and Resettlement: Achievements, Obstacles, and Opportunities

April 12, 2022

The Evacuate Our Allies (EOA) Coalition was formed in the wake of President Biden's announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in April 2021. Its mission is two-fold: to ensure the rapid relocation and rescue of vulnerable Afghans who are at risk of persecution from the Taliban, and to ensure a prompt and dignified resettlement in the United States. Its focus includes, but is not limited to, supporting those eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.In addition to its legislative efforts, the EOA Coalition also serves as the primary engagement vehicle for the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Unified Coordination Group (UCG) to work with civil society through Operation Allies Welcome. Through its five main liaison working groups, the coalition has hosted over 20 engagements with dozens of experts and officials representing over 12 federal agencies since September 2021 and has presented hundreds of policy and process recommendations to more humanely, efficiently, and generously support newly arrived Afghans and those that remain abroad in need of protection. This report is a compilation of feedback collected from Afghan American community leaders, veterans groups, on-the-ground experts, and liaison working groups: The report focuses on areas of advancement and achievement in our partnership with the UCG and federal agencies, identifies challenges that prevent successful relocation and resettlement, and presents recommendations for policy changes that should be prioritized as Operation Allies Welcome enters its next phase.

Fulfilling America’s Promise: Options to Make U.S. Humanitarian Protection Pathways Viable for At-Risk Afghans

November 9, 2021

In this report, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), InterAction, and Human Rights First lay out several options available to the Biden Administration to provide at-risk Afghans viable humanitarian pathways out of Afghanistan and third countries and into the U.S.

Afghanistan’s Rising Civilian Death Toll Due to Airstrikes, 2017-2020

December 7, 2020

When the United States tightens its rules of engagement and restricts air strikes where civilians are at risk, civilian casualties tend to go down; when it loosens those restrictions, civilians are injured and killed in greater numbers. In 2017 the Pentagon relaxed its rules of engagement for airstrikes and escalated the air war in Afghanistan. The aim was to gain leverage at the bargaining table. From 2017 through 2019, civilian deaths due to U.S.and allied forces' airstrikes in Afghanistan dramatically increased.

The Displacement Continuum: The Relationship Between Internal Displacement and Cross-border Movement in Seven Countries

June 1, 2020

The twentieth of June is World Refugee Day, dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees. There are nearly twice as many internally displaced people (IDPs) as there are refugees, but there is no International Day of Internal Displacement.To bring attention to the invisible majority of displaced people, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) is investigating the relationship between internal displacement and cross-border movement. Based on primary research conducted with refugees, returning refugees and IDPs from Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, we arrive at the following key findings:Cross-border movements are often a symptom of the failure to protect and assist IDPs in their country of origin. More than half of the refugees and returning refugees surveyed were internally displaced before leaving their country of origin. Many suffered multiple internal displacements and were unable to find safety in their country of origin.Restrictive migration policies combine with the high cost of irregular migration to limit opportunities for IDPs seeking refuge abroad. Instead, IDPs are exposed to repeated incidents of internal displacement. Nearly 47 per cent of IDPs surveyed were displaced multiple times. Border closures resulting from COVID-19 act as a further barrier to international protection.Difficult conditions abroad can push refugees to return prematurely to their countries of origin. Family reunification is the most powerful motivation behind returns, but refugees who are unable to make ends meet in their host country may feel they have no choice but to return to insecurity in their country of origin. Under such circumstances, return assistance runs the risk of encouraging premature returns.Refugees who return prematurely to their country of origin often find themselves in situations of internal displacement. Over three-quarters of returning refugees surveyed were living outside their area of origin, often because of continued insecurity and housing destruction. Returning refugees and IDPs face similar challenges in terms of accessing durable solutions to their displacement.

Economic Empowerment for Women Affected by Conflict

May 1, 2019

Since 1993, Women for Women International has served more than 479,000 marginalised women affected by conflict. Through our yearlong programme marginalised women are supported to: earn and save money; influence decisions; improve their well-being; and connect to networks for support. We see promising results in our monitoring and evaluation efforts.Based on our evidence and complemented by global studies, we highlight four key, interlinked components that are necessary for effectively supporting women's economic empowerment in conflict:1. Work with men to address discriminatory gender norms. All members of society suffer from patriarchal attitudes and have a role to play in promoting gender equality – these are not just "women's issues".2. Holistic and integrated programming. Women's needs and experiences in conflict are complex and interlinked. Solely economic interventions alone have not proven to yield long-term benefits.3. Build women's economic knowledge and skills. This is vital to supporting them to build agency and influence decisions, increase their income and increase their resilience to economic shocks.4. Informal and formal support networks. In the absence of government and financial services, networks are key to supporting women to access financial support, particularly for savings and income.In conclusion, this paper makes five recommendations for international governments and donors to effectively deliver on international commitments and support marginalised women's economic empowerment in conflict-affected contexts:1. Urgently increase funding for women's rights organisations.2. Support economic empowerment programmes that include men in their programme design.3. Target the most marginalised women.4. Support holistic and integrated programming.5. Listen to the needs of marginalised women and actively include them in the design, implementation and review of economic empowerment programmes.

Measuring Household Stress: The development of a contextualized multi-sector Coping Strategy Index for Afghanistan

May 22, 2018

Oxfam developed a multi-sector Coping Strategy Index (mCSI) to provide the humanitarian community in Afghanistan with a tool to assess and monitor the impact of interventions - especially multi-purpose cash grants - with data collected from Nangarhar, Herat, Kunduz, Kandahar and Kabul provinces. The project was funded by EU humanitarian aid and Oxfam.This report explains how the index was developed and tested in the field to verify its validity as a proxy of overall household stress. Also available to download is an introduction to the methodology.