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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.



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Credit: United Nations


10 December 2018, Brussels

2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has been accompanied by various activities around different human rights-related themes. The Declaration consists of 30 articles and was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. Since then, Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December every year. As a major milestone in the effort to provide human rights protection to all human beings irrespective of nationality, sex, ethnic origin, religion, race and legal status, the Declaration served as a model for international human rights treaties around the world. 

While we celebrate human rights day, it is also high time to ask whose human rights are guaranteed and under which conditions migrant, refugee and asylum seeking women and girls ‘enjoy’ their fundamental human rights. 

Although universal in spirit, state-centred nature of human rights treaties allows countries to establish their own standards and accord rights differently with regards to status (e.g. undocumented, refugee, asylum seeker). The lack of real international enforcement mechanisms for human rights enables countries to comply with treaties at their own discretion. This selective enforcement considerably limits the rights of migrant women and girls. 



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Policy Recommendations

The following recommendations are based on the  Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), which entered into force on 1 August 2014.

The Istanbul Convention focuses specifically on protecting asylum seeking and refugee women in its Articles 60 “Gender-based asylum claims” and 61 “Non-refoulement”. Unfortunately, when having a closer look at enforcement possibilities of those provisions, it becomes clear, that hard consequences cannot be enforced on the signatory states. This lack of accountability makes implementing the Convention especially hard.

A lot of actors, such as the European Parliament have tried to change the situation by urging the Member States to implement certain measures. (Examples: EP report on gender-related asylum claims in Europe, EP resolution on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU, GREVIO and NGO-coalition report on the situation in the different countries). However, those measures have only limited impact.

This article gives a brief overview on the most important measures on how to establish a fairer outcome.



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Brussels, 28 November 2018

Girls face some of the strongest challenges when making the journey for asylum and a new life, yet as a group, girls’ needs often remains a significant gap in law, policy, funding and service provision. Subsumed under the terms ‘children’ and ‘women and girls’, data specific to the experiences of girls through migration and resettlement is often lacking, which leads to challenges in securing specialised resources.

European Network of Migrant Women (ENOMW) held a joint event with the European Women’s Lobby, at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Mary Honeyball, aimed at highlighting the specific situation, needs and role of migrant and refugee girls in Europe. Presenters included: MEP Mary Honeyball, Deborah Carlos, co-founder of ENOMW member Melissa Network of Migrant Women in Greece, Natasha Noreen, ENOMW individual member, Catriona Graham, Policy Officer of European Women’s Lobby, Sally Hayden, independent investigative journalist, Gwendoline Lefebvre, President of European Women’s Lobby. The event was accompanied by the publication of a factsheet #GirlsVoices. (download PDF GirlsVoices Infosheet ).





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Volunteering: Perceptions, Experience and Barriers among Migrant Women, NGOs and Private Sector in Six European Countries


 Volunteering as an integration method has been highly beneficial to any participant and the receiving society. However, there is a lack of knowledge and data about migrant volunteering in European countries.

As a multi-agency cooperation project, SMART Volunteering aims to fill this gap by exploring understanding of volunteering among migrant women and the crucial roles of civil society organizations and business actors in creating the conditions conducive to social integration.

The research works on broadening traditional concept of volunteering by highlighting its more strategic aspects .

This summary report, collated by the European Network of Migrant Women, is based on the national reports  in Belgium, Cyprus, France, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom, written by SMART Volunteering partner organisations.


SMART Project is Co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union


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The piece below aims to raise awareness about CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) through imagining her as a real woman.

It offers a brief insight into the issues women migrants might be up against and offers suggestions for actions on the ground service providers could take to support women migrants with their struggles.

These solutions and suggestions emerge from the women-centred framework being developed to address needs of women migrants through Connecting Opportunities – a project based in the UK. Connecting Opportunities works with new migrants to develop their skills and opportunities to find work and be part of the local community. It is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund.


If CEDAW Was a Real Woman

Women-Centred Ways of Working with Women Migrants

CEDAW was born on 3rd September 1981. If she was a real woman, she would be 37 this year. According to the Chinese zodiac she would be a Virgo, with Earth as her element – therefore loyal, hardworking, analytical, practical. We might assume all sorts of things about her.

She may be a confident, eloquent and aspiring woman who has found her place in the world by now. Nevertheless, as a woman, on average she is nearly 10% less likely to read & write, more likely to struggle with her mental health, be paid less, and bear a heavier load than men in balancing her work and caring responsibilities. Adding the fact that this 37-year-old could have come from a different country multiplies the number of cultural barriers to inclusion she may experience. She is likely to be a woman of colour, she might speak many languages but not the local one, her educational achievements might not be recognised, and she might dress differently or cover her hair because of her faith.


Joint Statement Of Concern On Shrinking Civil Society Space And Increasing Private Sector Exclusivity At UN

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Disgrace at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Big Alcohol, Big Oil and Big Pharma hold meeting in the heart of the UN

New York, United Nations, July 19, 2018 – Civil society groups express deep concern about presence of harmful industries at the United Nations and during the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development  

The fact that private sector invitation-only events take place in the heart of the UN is deeply concerning. In this way, well-funded private sector front groups are able to monopolize the conversation on matters of public concern, further fueling problems of intransparency and monopolizing the definition of problems and accepted solutions. Harmful industries should have no place at discussions about solutions to the problems that their products, business models and business practices are causing in the first place. 


Landmark philanthropic summit — including Emma Watson, Marai Larasi, Pragna Patel — calls for more philanthropic support to end violence against girls and women

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Left to Right: Devi Leiper O’Malley (FRIDA–The Young Feminist Fund); Nasra Ayub (Integrate UK); Emma Watson; Marai Larasi (Imkaan) // Photo Credit: Fiksa


From Violence to a Place of Power: A Funder Convening on Movement Building to End Sexual Violence

20 July 2018—The movement to end violence against girls and women is gaining global momentum due to the dynamic and courageous work of grassroots activists, yet their work faces growing threats and needs more support and solidarity from across philanthropy, a day-long convening of activists, funders, journalists and culture shapers said in London on 10 July 2018.

From Violence to a Place of Power: A Funder Convening on Movement Building to End Sexual Violence was convened by NoVo Foundation, Oak Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy and Ariadne, and facilitated by Jude Kelly, to explore how philanthropy can radically increase its support for the movement to end violence against all girls and women.

Deepening a conversation that began at a similar convening of U.S. funders in New York in April, the London convening sought to examine the specific context for work to end sexual violence in the UK and Europe, where growing momentum around #MeToo and other movements is coupled with rising nationalism, austerity politics, the closing of civil society space and assaults on human rights.

Actor and activist Emma Watson chaired the opening session of the day—an intergenerational conversation among activists Nasra Ayub (Integrate UK), Marai Larasi (Imkaan), and Devi Leiper O’Malley (FRIDA–The Young Feminist Fund). The panelists outlined the pivotal role of movement building and feminist organizing in ending violence against girls and women, as well as the urgent need for many more funders and donors from across the philanthropic sector to trust movement leaders and provide long-term, flexible support to sustain their work.

Responding to research across seventy countries that concluded that women’s movements were the key factor in determining policy change, Emma Watson said, “This makes it all the more shocking that a survey of European foundations found that less than 5 percent of funds were targeted towards girls and women. I think supporting girls and women’s organisations is the greatest hope we have for worldwide transformative change – and my philanthropic choices are grounded in that belief.”



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Article originally published on 21/12/2017, by The European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development < here >

Migrant women and girls and their access to SRHR in Europe

While thinking about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), Europe is praised for its leadership, however the inequities related to various SRHR aspects remain across different regions or certain groups. Read this inspiring interview with Anna Zobnina of the European Network of Migrant Women who shared with us the struggles faced by migrant women in the European continent and concrete recommendations related to these challenges.



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Are you a feminist based in Belgium or willing to relocate to Belgium ? Are you passionate about the fight for the rights of migrant, refugee and ethnic minority women in Europe ? Do you share our values and mission ? Apply to volunteer in our Brussels Office for the period of three to six months, from September 2018.

Submit your CV/Motivation letter to:

Note: As a migrant women led platform priority among applicants will be given to migrant, refugee and ethnic minority women