Asylum and population control: assessing UNHCR’s sexual and reproductive health programme in Guatemalan refugee settlements
The UN and other multilateral agencies in the fields of relief and development, under the premise of promoting gender equality, increasingly identify reproductive health care to displaced people as a ‘durable solution’ to prevent maternal mortality, complications following abortion, sex gender-based violence (SGBV), and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The UNHCR response to displaced Guatemalan’s seeking asylum in Mexico is the first case where gender equality discourse was used to justify the inclusion of health interventions to respond to SGBV in its humanitarian projects. Questions remain on how gender equality discourse became institutionalised within UNHCR and its impact in shaping health interventions.What role does gender play in shaping health provision, specifically reproductive health, to refugee communities? What lessons can be gained from displaced communities in their provision of health services? To answer these questions, this paper presents findings from ethnographic research among forced migrants living in La Gloria, the largest of the 36 original refugee camps, located in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico.