The vulnerability of populations affected by conflict or environmental disasters was stressed at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994. In particular, the high mortality and morbidity rates among refugees were emphasised. The ICPD and its Programme of Action have enabled a degree of consensus1 to be reached on the importance of reproductive health and rights, including those of refugees and internally displaced people. Post-Cairo, some of the language and concerns of the ICPD Programme of Action are being brought into the initiatives of international agencies, including UN agencies and international NGOs. Reproductive health policies and programmes have started to be implemented in refugee communities, and service delivery has begun to be systematised.2 However, if the mistakes and abuses of past family-planning programmes are to be avoided, we need to integrate some critical insights from feminists working in the fields of health and anthropology. However, there are structural constraints within relief organisations and operations which need to be overcome if they are to benefit from such insights.
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