The United Nations Population Fund has selected Julie Freccero, associate director of the Human Rights Center’s Sexual Violence Program at UC Berkeley School of Law, for a three-month deployment in Greece to help develop and coordinate the response to gender-based violence against refugees and migrants in Greece, where more than 50,000 people remain stranded.
Freccero will conduct assessments in the camps to identify urgent health and protection needs, collect data to understand the scope of gender-based violence, and propose solutions. She will also provide training and technical assistance to organizations on the ground to improve effectiveness.
“After hearing stories of gender-based violence and observing the absence of critical services firsthand during our scoping mission earlier this year, I’m thrilled to be able to work directly on the response in Greece in such a concrete way,” Freccero said. “I hope to contribute to making life safer for refugees and migrants in Greece, and to ensuring that survivors have access to the protection and support services they need.”
Freccero, who holds a master’s degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley, completed an intensive, six-day training program on sexual and reproductive health in emergencies, sponsored by the Humanitarian and Fragile Contexts Branch of the United Nations Population Fund in Turin, Italy, in June. At that workshop, she and participants from 10 countries took part in hands-on exercises and simulations related to gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health during emergencies.
Now Freccero will have a chance to engage in such efforts again—for real this time.
She will draw on her years of experience conducting seminal research to improve safe shelters for sexual violence survivors in refugee and IDP camps and accountability for wartime sexual violence.
“Julie’s selection represents an important opportunity to put our hands-on research into practice,” said Alexa Koenig, executive director of the Human Rights Center. “Her work on the ground will enable the United Nations to craft better policies to protect refugees from gender-based violence.”