[Brussels, 11 September 2020] Equality between women and men is the cornerstone of a peaceful, safe and just society. All women and girls have the right to live a quality life that is free from all forms of violence, irrespective of their legal migration status. We stand in solidarity with the 13,000 asylum seekers, many of whom are women and girls, who have been devastated by the tragic fire at the Moria camp in Greece last week. It is a stark reminder that the migration and asylum policies across Europe are in dire need of urgent reform.
Asylum seeking women and girls are being held in overcrowded and unsanitary camp conditions, are exposed to greater risks of male violence and sexual exploitation, and lack access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services; all of which have been made worse during COVID-19. In light of these events, EWL has updated its migration and asylum paper "EWL position paper on EU policies on migration and asylum: The EU Must Protect Rights of Migrant and Asylum-Seeking Women and Girls".
This paper presents recommendations to EU decision-makers to ensure that women’s perspectives and voices are consistently mainstreamed across all upcoming migration and asylum initiatives, to ensure no woman or girl is left behind. Our demands call for targeted measures to address and prevent male violence, sexual exploitation and discrimination against women and girls on the move, and measures to ensure women’s socioeconomic rights and independence.
Our demands draw from existing recommendations from our previous papers, all of which still remain relevant today: #WomensVoices report, #GirlsVoices info-sheet, Purple Pact, COVID-19 policy brief; as well as the recommendations from our members at the European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW) and the European Disability Forum (EDF).
Now more than ever, equality between women and men as per the EU Treaties must be at the forefront of the EU’s response to migration and asylum policies. These policies must urgently move away from a crisis-management approach to a justice, wellbeing and rights-based approach that facilitates in humane migration and asylum seeking pathways. The conditions of Moria and other sites across Europe must end immediately!