The examination of forced migration of political refugees from sexual violence in armed conflict offers a unique vantage point for exploring the relationship between structure and agency. While it is significant to acknowledge the lack of autonomy accessible to political refugees, simultaneously, it is problematic to assume that their actions do not qualify as agency. I argue that it is possible on one hand to address the lack of agency related to the imposed structure, while on the other hand, to theorize marginalized actors’ form of agency based on their ability to actively negotiate forced conditions in order to secure their own and their families’ safety. This theoretical shift in re-conceptualizing agency from the perspective of political refugees reveals that despite, international human rights efforts, in practice these policies may deter and marginalize refugees. Inherent gender bias and exclusion in human rights agendas serve to undermine the rights and security of refugees. Incorporating refugees’ experiences negotiating conditions of violence facilitates the ability to critique and transform Western perspectives of human rights, particularly deterrent measures and individual-responsibility policies that require refugees to provide justification of their rights to security.
"Refugees, Sexual Violence, and Armed Conflict: The Nuances between Victims and Agents,"
Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women's & Gender Studies: Vol. 10:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cortland.edu/wagadu/vol10/iss1/5