7. Durable Solutions

The major cross-cut for this theme for the women was with protection capacity, as an uncertain future looms large in their minds.

“We do not know what will happen to us and where we will go… what will happen to our children” 
(Refugee woman, 2019)

Women raised statelessness, or the perception of statelessness, as a key problem that affected women across all categories. being a citizen of any country.

We need a document which gives us a state, to be a citizen ….we are not able to live in our country as we are living here. We are still blessed and thankful to Malaysia. That is another reason why we really want to contribute for that. We also thankful to NGO to UNHCR who help us to stay in this country. we are really thankful that we were able to live in this country, breathing—in our country, if we were in our country we would have been killed, chopped, burned alive. So we are thankful to be in this country.. . . . . At least if we have that document we can be standing on our own feet.

Because of not having this document, we are not allowed to work if we request a job we are not accepted, we cannot study, cannot go to school. Because of not having documents, it’s hard to survive. It is so many big issues to being undocumented, we are not even accepted in hospitals

Refugee woman, 2019

We are able to bring benefit to this country – we can be contributors

Refugee woman, 2019

Durable Solutions Girls 0 – 12 and 13 – 17 years:

Durable solutions for children were entirely in the hands of their parents. There were reports of family violence and despair when children asked parents why they had brought them to this terrible life and requested to go back to their home country even though most had been born in the camps.

Durable Solutions – Women 18 – 24 and 25 – 50 years and Widows:

Mature women across these age groups reported that they had little choice in major decisions on Durable Solutions. Most married women are dependent on the decisions and status of their husbands. Lack of education and family violence which exacerbate the lack of opportunities for participation in decision making render them silent. Only a small number of extremely vulnerable single women have access to resettlement. All discussed the fear of forced return. They requested more information about what was happening from the governments, UNHCR and NGOs. Women stated that they are often not given information and that even their fathers and husbands could not access this at times. This leads to rumour, misinformation, myths and speculation, which causes disquiet, mistrust and a sense of hopelessness. Unfortunately, this, in turn, contributes to an increase in family disharmony and antisocial behaviour. The women stated the need for a guarantee of security and an end to the conflict before they can consider returning to their home country. In addition to this, they demanded adequate infrastructure for return, including involvement in planning meetings and training for return, citizenship, identity cards, travel documents, safe housing, decent education systems which recognised the certificates gained in the country of stay, proper health services and livelihoods. They also requested support for up to two years after the return to enable them to rebuild their lives. Above all they wanted a place at the planning and decision-making tables, to put forward their analysis and suggestions for the future.

Durable Solutions – Older Women, LBTI Women and Women with Disability:

The participants noted that these very marginalised groups had little or no say in the major decisions which will shape their future. They were totally dependent on the males in their families to make these decisions, and were usually given no information about their options, and what was happening.