EUROPEAN NETWORK OF MIGRANT WOMEN (ENOMW) is the only Europe-wide feminist umbrella organisation that directly represents the opinion of migrant & refugee women & girls at the European and International level. Our diverse membership includes the women of Arab, African, Asian, Latin American and Eastern European descent and extends to over 40 migrant women grass-root and advocacy groups in 20 European countries.
March 8, 1908 at the call of the New York Social Democratic Women’s Organization, the first rally for the equality of women was held in America. On this day, more than 15,000 women marched through the city of New York. It was indeed a revolution in the minds of women and the expression of disagreement with the old patriarchal order.
In the course of history, the Soviet propaganda, to our surprise, decided to change the spirit of this movement. Heroic and victorious, and certainly tragic, revolution in the history women’s fight for their rights – it was replaced with the gifts of flowers and women’s perfume.
WOMEN AND GIRLS IN THE GLOBAL COMPACT ON REFUGEES
Brussels, 14 February
On 13 February National Governments started negotiations on the Global Compact on Refugees. The Compact is supposed to have four key elements:
- Easing pressures on countries that welcome and host refugees;
- Build self-reliance of refugees;
- Expand access to resettlement in third countries and other complementary pathways;
- Foster conditions that enable refugees voluntarily to return to their home countries.
Women and Girls’s needs and voices have been traditionally overlooked in the formulation of policies concerning refugees. Many organisations have voiced their concern over the lack of gender attention given to female refugees, which effectively leave them behind. ENOMW shares the concerns of many feminists organisations involved in the consultation process on the Compact. Now that the Compact is taken to the level of inter-governmental negotiations, it is crucial that we inform the states on the obligations they have to fulfil to meet the rights of female refugees. Together with our two members, Melissa Network Greece and Women Refugee Route, and with the support of CARE International UK, CPDE and ECRE we have launched an advocacy action to ensure that women and girls’ voices are not lost in the process.
WE DO NOT EXPECT MIRACLES. WE EXPECT WHAT’S POSSIBLE & RIGHT:
#1 – Leadership for Women
#2 – Gender Mainstreaming in the entire Compact
#3 – Funding for Grassroots Sevice-providers
#4 – End of Male Violence against Women
#5 – Rights for Girl-Child
#6 – Economic Opportunities
#7 – Accountability for Men
On 11-12 December 2017 we took part in the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges in Geneva. This was accompanies by an event on the situation of Refugee Girl-Children that we organised jointly with CARE, Melissa and Women Refugee Route, hosted by the Swedish Permanent Representation to the EU. We issued draft recommendations addressing the gaps and solutions for women and girls safety, dignity and security.
In line with the European Commission’s year focused on actions to combat violence against women, the project “Co-creating a Counselling Method for refugee women Gender-Based Violence victims” (CCM-GBV) (01/11/2017 – 31/10/2019) has received a project grant under the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020).
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a violation of human rights, largely affecting women. GBV against refugee women has particularly received heightened attention since the EU’s migration crisis. Even though the CEDAW, Istanbul Convention and the EU’s Reception Directive (2013/33/EU) stress that women are a particularly vulnerable group, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) highlighted GBV against refugee women – including forced marriage, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and physical assault – as an area of concern in its June 2016 report on the migration situation. Information on the extent of the GBV problem amongst refugee women within the EU is however lacking. Furthermore, the Council of Europe (2015) stresses that women with an insecure residence status often face the problem of having limited or no access to services making them aware of such rights. This situation leads to significant barriers in accessing certain types of interventions such as turning to the police, and may increase the period of time that women are exposed to abuse. Thus, it is very important for refugee women to receive adequate help from specialised support services in line with the REC-VAW-AG-2016 Call’s purpose that this project establishes through the co-creation of a counselling method. In this project, co-creation (=creating a service based on user experience) is used to create a specific counselling method, involving both end-users – meaning refugee women GBV victims – and service providers, the counsellors.
REFUGEE GIRL CHILD IN THE GLOBAL COMPACTS
Women and girls who flee conflict, crisis and natural disasters, or who migrate for other reasons, such as domestic violence or poverty, face specific threats, including human trafficking, exploitation and sexual violence and a denial of their basic human rights. Yet there is a lack of interest and understanding for the specific situation of women and girls on the move by decision-makers and the media. In addition, despite gains in policy and practice in recent years, the capacities of refugee women and girls are too often overlooked. They are underserved, poorly protected, and excluded from decision-making processes.
FEMINIST, REFUGEE, YOUNG WOMAN ACTIVIST
Brussels, 29 November
It is not a coincident that Mina Jaf, an Iraqi-Kurdish feminist, a refugee and a proud European resident, was awarded the prize in Youth Activism Category of 2017 Women of Europe Award.
Mina is a tireless advocate for the rights of women, with the focus of her work and activism on female refugees across Europe and beyond. In 2015 she founded her NGO Women Refugee Route, to empower migrant and refugee women to access their rights and to become effective self-advocates. Based in Denmark, Mina works in Greece, Italy and other locations with high numbers of refugees. In June 2017 she was elected the Vice President of European Network of Migrant Women to become a source of inspiration and wisdom for all of our members !
The Women in Europe Awards, created by the European Movement International and the European Women’s Lobby, are handed out annually to honour women striving to advance the European project in their professional or private capacity as the role of women in the European project remains largely unrecognised. The awards highlight the contribution of women in promoting and advancing European issues, and to increase their presence and involvement in debates about Europe and its future.
Well done Mina and keep up your great feminist work !
Copenhagen, 24-25 November
To mark the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against Gender Based Violence we went to Copenhagen where, together with our Danish member Women Refugee Route (WRR), we organised a public event “Security and Tradition OR Violence against Women? Istanbul Convention and the Universal Rights of Female Migrants“. Our event also coincided with the publication of GREVIO Evaluation Report on Denmark released on 24 November, with one of the shadow rapporteurs to the GREVIO Committee as one of the panelist.
Why Denmark? Why Istanbul Convention? Why Migrant Women?
Denmark is known as one of the most progressive states in Europe. Not accidentally, the Business Insider ranks Denmark as “the second best country for women to live in”. But how accurate is this ranking and what factors do we consider when we name a place “best” for women?
WOMEN RIGHTS IN TURBULENT TIMES
Brussels, 20-21 November
European Network of Migrant Women took part in the 2017 EU Colloquium on Fundamental Rights that was held in Brussels under the patronage of EC Vice-President Mr France Timmermans and this year was dedicated to the Rights of Women. The event brought together several hundreds of legal experts, activists, academics and specialist service providers in the area of women’s rights, gender equality and violence against women.
Following the opening speeches that included a very powerful presentation by the prominent UK historian Mary Beard, who emphasized the pervasive tradition of attacking women’s free speech and self-expression in Europe, the floor was open to the participants through a series of thematic discussions covering a range of subjects: from women in decision-making, economy, employment and science to violence against women.
“It is important to understand how deeply silencing of women is ingrained in the Western culture”, Mary Beard
North Rhine Westphalia, 21-22 November
European Network of Migrant Women participated to a Study Visit to North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), Germany. The visit was organised by European Social Fund Transnational Platform, EU-Thematic Network on Migrants and brought together ESF managing authorities, intermediate bodies and civil society organisations. The theme of the study was the role of business sector in the integration of migrants.
Four different projects/initiatives were presented to show the importance of employment involvement in labour market integration programmes:
- Education and employment of migrants in the health care sector, University Teaching Hospital Essen
- Labour market policies in NRW and initiative ‘that’s what we do’,
- PerMenti: Integration of qualified migrant women into the labour market
- Seamless labour market integration from education to vocational training and employment, Evonik & RE/init.
We are pleased to invite you to Copenhagen to our event SECURITY & TRADITION OR VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN? Istanbul Convention and the Universal Rights of Female Migrants that will take place in Copenhagen on 24th of November. The panel is organized together with our Danish member Women Refugee Route.
Across the world man-made and natural disasters, war and conflict are intensifying.
Europe has responded to this by increasingly militarising borders and externalising migration management to countries and regimes that women and girls are trying to flee. For these women, the price of freedom and justice is now subject to multiple forms of male violence en route. Those who make it to Europe continue to face abuse and discrimination through their asylum process
The few lucky ones who are granted refugee status are then confronted with labour and social exclusion, marginalising them from the outset.
They are also at risk of poverty, prostitution and sexual exploitation, while the violence they face within their own communities is justified on the grounds of “culture” and “tradition”.
For the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign starting on 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), European Network of Migrant Women and Women Refugee Route are organising a two-panel event to discuss the situation of migrant & refugee women in Europe.