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All forcibly displaced and stateless populations are considered vulnerable and typically face protection concerns en route to, and when they arrive in, host communities, whether in cities, camps, or other settings. In addition to the inherent insecurity and danger that is associated with displacement, a breakdown of support systems and community structures, a lack of services, and the sudden absence of basic supplies and resources puts displaced populations in risky situations. PRM recognizes that displaced populations are not all the same,  and that certain factors and characteristics can expose beneficiaries to additional violence, exploitation, and abuse. This is why we encourage our partners to assess protection needs, demonstrate accountability to affected populations, take a community-based approach to protection, and design programs that take into account particular and shared vulnerabilities. 

Most importantly, PRM stresses the need to make extra efforts and invest additional resources to ensure that particularly at-risk populations are present in, engaged in, participating in, and contributing to humanitarian programming and the way the international community responds to emergencies.  PRM also works on diplomatic advocacy that focuses on the specific situations and experiences of these populations in crisis. 

Women and Girls 

Fifty percent of refugee populations consist of women and girls with their own unique needs and characteristics. Women and girls are often considered a highly at-risk population because of the high levels of violence, sexual exploitation, and abuse perpetrated against them. They are also often sidelined and forgotten in the design of emergency responses. PRM addresses women and girls’ unique circumstances through the requirement of a gender analysis and the existence of a high quality organizational code of conduct on the part of partners, as well as significant global and regional funding for gender-based violence programming. 

Children and Youth 

More than half of the world’s refugee population are children (below the age of 18), and many will spend their entire childhoods in countries of asylum. These children face heightened risks for abuse, violence, exploitation, and separation from their caregivers. PRM addresses the unique needs of displaced and stateless children and youth through global and regional humanitarian assistance programs that focus on child protection, family reunification, education, and birth registrationLearn More» 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Individuals 

In many parts of the world, LGBQTI+ persons face discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and, in many countries, consensual same-sex acts are criminalized. These individuals may be targeted, harassed, hurt, or even killed in their home countries or country of refuge. PRM works with partners to train staff on issues specific to displaced LGBTQI+ populations, fund LGBTQI+ protection, and ensure that LGBTQI+ refugees resettled in the United States receive appropriate services and support. Learn more>>

Elderly and Persons With Disabilities 

Certain populations require specialized services and responses to meet their individual needs. Elderly refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as displaced persons with disabilities, in particular, often face challenges and obstacles to physically accessing or seeking out services and support. PRM supports UNHCR, ICRC, and other international organization and NGO policies, tools, and guidance to involve the elderly, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers in program planning and implementation in order to better meet their humanitarian needs.  PRM has adopted the guiding principles  outlined in the Women’s Refugee Commission’s  Resource Kit for Fieldworkers on Disabilities Among Refugees and Conflict-Affected Populations, and encourages its partners to integrate protection and assistance for persons with disabilities into multisectoral humanitarian programs and to develop additional targeted programs to address the specific needs of refugees and other persons of concern with disabilities. 


U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future