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Alice Hope Birungi to Lead Toronto Conference on Health and Rights in Refugee Crises


n May 7th and 8th, 2024, the Sackville Banquet Hall in Toronto will host an essential event, the “Global Conference on Sexual Health, Reproductive Rights, and Gender Equity in Refugee and Humanitarian Crises.” Organized by Hope for Refugees International (HRI), this conference will be chaired by Alice Hope Birungi, president of Adsion, and will focus on pressing health issues facing refugees and those in humanitarian crises.

The conference is exclusively open to individuals based in Canada and offers free registration. It aims to be an inclusive event, particularly encouraging Black refugees, asylum seekers, LGBTQ+ community members, women, and youths to participate. The goal is to foster comprehensive discussions and develop actionable solutions for the challenges at hand.

Statistical Challenges in Sexual and Reproductive Health: Refugee and humanitarian crises severely impact sexual and reproductive health, as recent studies highlight:

  • Access to SRH Services: Roughly 60% of pregnant refugee women lack access to essential obstetric services, significantly increasing risks of maternal and infant mortality.
  • Gender-Based Violence: Up to 70% of women in conflict-affected areas suffer from gender-based violence, which adversely affects their long-term health and wellbeing.
  • Contraceptive Use: A mere 15% of women in refugee camps have access to contraceptives, leading to unintended pregnancies and related health issues.
  • HIV and STDs: The prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is substantially higher among refugee populations than the general population, due in part to limited access to healthcare and information.

Conference Objectives and Sessions: Under the theme “Rights, Dignity, and Access: Advancing Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights Amidst Refugee and Humanitarian Crisis,” the conference will unite experts, activists, and impacted individuals to share insights and strategies for improving conditions. Sessions will range from providing SRH services during crises to establishing legal frameworks that enhance gender equity.

Alice Hope Birungi, a dedicated advocate for refugee rights and gender equality, will steer the discussions. Her leadership emphasizes the need for integrated approaches to effectively address the SRH challenges in these settings. This conference serves as a crucial platform for transforming dialogue into action, striving to restore dignity and access to essential services for all affected by such crises.

For more information on the event and registration details, visit the Hope for Refugees International event page.

About Hope for Refugees International: Hope for Refugees International commits to aiding those displaced by conflict, persecution, and hardship. Our efforts are geared towards improving access to immigration services, healthcare—including mental and sexual reproductive health—and tackling broader issues such as gender equality, poverty, inequality, climate change, and social justice. We are driven by our belief in humanity, human rights, equity, inclusion, and diversity, championing the dignity and resilience of Black and LGBTQ+ refugees and the world’s most vulnerable populations. Through our work, we aim to forge a more equitable and just world for everyone.

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