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.
On 16 January 2020 European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW), supported by almost 100 civil society organisations, including international and national platforms and umbrella associations, sent a letter addressed to the European Commission’s Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.
In this letter we asked the European Commission to extend the mandate of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator (ATC), Dr Myria Vassiliadou, due to come to an end on 29 February 2020.
As an umbrella organisation representing the persons directly and disproportionally affected by the gendered crime of trafficking in Europe, we are particularly concerned with the future of the quality of work carried by the office of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator – including transparency, the rule of law, solidarity, victim-centered appraoch, the principles of equality between women and men and gender mainstreaming – all the aspects of the EU anti-trafficking work that we are pleased to have witnessed met and reinforced under the mandate of the current ATC Dr Myria Vassiliadou.
The 6th of February is a well-known date for NGOs, CSOs and activists committed to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). As the international day against FGM will highlight existing projects and good practises to end it, it is also a great moment to focus on the unknown – or less known – social norms aimed at controlling women’s bodies.
Growing up, virginity and hymen were the topics of conversations with my fellow girl friends. Virginity was, for us, a key to a successful, blessed, honorific and socially well-approved marriage. As part of our social existence, virginity and marriage are tied to each other. Marriage is the main objective and greatest achievement for young girls to be accepted and treated as a respected woman within their families and at a larger scale, their communities. Several ways to protect virginity and to ensure that young girls will one day become wives, exist, such as virginity testing or the tasfih.
I remember being a young and naive teenager, coming back from her summer holidays in Algeria and excited to meet with my friends. As we gathered after weeks of not talking to each other (no smartphones back then!), one of them was talking to us about her new status. She was now officially marbouta, a future pure wife. She talked about it and bragged about it. I was angry, why on earth wasn’t I purified for my future?! Quickly after coming home, I wanted to confront my mother, and double-check with her in case we missed a very very important activity for me. I was straightforward: “Mama, why am I not marbouta?”. I will never forget my mother’s face as her breath stopped, suddenly turned to face me and yelled at me “don’t you ever mention this and if someone talks to you about this again you come to me”.
Without knowing it, we were talking about tasfih
Tasfih is done on young girls before puberty and is a spiritual practise: Girls are taken to a qabla (traditional midwife) and must repeat seven times “wald el nas khet wa ana haït” which can be translated as “People’s son is a string and I’m a wall”. This sentence is highly sexualised and symbolises the incapacity for the new marbouta (knotted) – msakra (closed) girl to have sexual intercourses outside of marriage. It can only be undone before the wedding and by saying “wald el nas haït wa an khet” meaning “People’s son is a wall and I’m a string”.
30 January 2020, Vienna
European Network of Migrant Women took part in anther round of expert consultation on the General Recommendation Article 6 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), convened by Vienna by the CEDAW Commission, United Nations Office for High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Austrian government. Together with gthe experts from UN Agencies and Civil society organisations we discussed the situation of Trafficking in Women and Girls in the Eastern-European region and provided our recommendations to the the General Recommendations on the Trafficking in Women and Girls in the Context of Global Migration that the CEDAW Committee is set to produce by the end of 2020.
European Network of Migrant Women is pleased to partner in a new project HumMingBird, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme and coordinated by the University of Leuven.
Brussels, 18 December 2019
On the occasion of the International Day of Migrants, European Network of Migrant Women is inviting you to join us in commemorating the lives of migrant women and girls perished in the systemic and interpersonal male violence in Europe.
“Femicide is a grave and unacceptable violation of women’s and girls’ most basic human right to life. It is a leading cause of premature death of women globally. Although the rate of homicide has been on the decline across the world, the rate of femicide has remained the same, and, in some contexts, increased.
According to Diana Russel who presented the term at the 1976 International Tribunal on Crimes against Women in Brussels, femicide applies to all forms of sexist killings “motivated by a sense of entitlement to or superiority over women, by pleasure or sadistic desires toward them, or by an assumption of ownership of women”. The Latin American feminists defined femicide as “the misogynist killing of women by men;” “the mass killing of women committed by men based on their group superiority;” and “the extreme form of gender-based violence, understood as violence inflicted by men against women in their desire to obtain power, domination, and control.”
The Latin American Model Protocol for the investigation of gender-related killings of women defines femicide as “the murder of women because they are women, whether it is committed within the family, a domestic partnership, or any other interpersonal relationship, or by anyone in the community, or whether it is perpetrated or tolerated by the state or its agents”.
Join our Belgian members, Isala asbl, La voix des Femmes, AWSA-Be جمعية تضامن المرأة العربية Arab Women’s Solidarity Association, Oasis Belgium, on the 10 December for an evening dedicated to Women and Migration, the screening of the film “This is my Home Now” and discussion with its director, Belgian-Moroccan feminist artist, Saddie Choua.
🛑 ADDRESS: Witte Zolder Hall, De Markten, Oude Graanmarkt 5, Brussels (Belgium)
🛑 FILM SCREENING: FR, EN and NL with DISCUSSION in FR
🛑 REGISTRATION: firstname.lastname@example.org
🛑 FREE OF CHARGE
On 30 August 2019, European Network of Migrant Women, along with a group of civil society experts, participated in the regional CEDAW Consultation expert meeting [Consultation on CEDAW Art 6], organised by our Finnish member MONIKA -Multicultural Women Association (and umbrella platform of 16 migrant women NGOs in Finland) and National Council of Women of Finland.
The outcomes of the meeting state:
“The Monika – Multicultural Women’s Association, Finland and the National Council of Women of Finland underline that trafficking in human beings and exploitation in prostitution are severe forms of violence against women. We urge the importance to take all necessary efforts to decrease and prevent these human rights violations.
We strongly encourage the CEDAW to re-consider the chosen framework of the forthcoming General Recommendation on Trafficking of Women and Girls in the Context of Global Migration and protect women and girls from violence and exploitation as well as to abolish the use of the term “forced prostitution” and “sex work”.
We strongly claim, that the image of women and girls who make independent choices on prostitution is problematic. Female minors, women migrants, racialised women, and women in difficult life situations are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and violence. For many women in prostitution, violence is part of their everyday life, and violence is often one of the underlying reasons for women to become involved in prostitution.
An expanding sex-industry involves expanding violence and abuse of minors, undocumented persons and other people in vulnerable situations. In our view, it is both patronizing and racist to present the selling of sex as an acceptable route out of poverty.
There is strong evidence that trafficking, prostitution and exploitation of women and girls in vulnerable situations are linked to other forms of violence against women. The choice to be educated, to have a decent job, and a salary to feed one’s family should not have to be achieved through exploitation.”
THE STATEMENT OF
RadicalGirlsss, the Young Women Group of the European Network of Migrant Women
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
On the occasion of the 25th of November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we, the Radical Girlsss are obliged to take a strong position in the struggle and defence of the Human Rights of women and girls.
WE DENOUNCE the patriarchal violence to which we are subjected every day in its many manifestations. We denounce femicide, rape and sexual aggression, sexual exploitation, street and workplace harassment, institutional male violence, the wage gap, economic violence, among many other forms of violence that continue to threaten and condition the lives of women and girls around the world.
WE FIGHT against this system, in which violence and exploitation of women’s bodies is fully normalized, affirming that prostitution, pornography and surrogacy are exacerbated forms of violence against women that disproportionately affect migrant women and girls. We refuse to accept that the bodies, reproductive capacity and lives of young women may be for sale or rent, may be a source of entertainment, or may legitimately fuel a criminal industry.
WE ACKNOWLEDGE that women and girls around the world face a variety of harmful practices, in many cases justified by culture or religion, that perpetuate gender stereotypes, such as forced marriage or female genital mutilation. These forms of control of the life and the sexuality, especially of young women and girls, amount to violence against women and must be opposed and eliminated.
WE DEMAND States, as well as their police and judicial authorities, to renew, today and in a lasting manner, their commitment to the dignity of women and girls, their commitment to ensure that we live a life free of male violence. This commitment is, on the one hand, moral, because more than half of the population cannot be left to live under constant violence. But we want to make it clear that it is also a legal commitment, acquired through the ratification of Human Rights instruments such as the CEDAW Convention or the Istanbul Convention. Therefore, we will remain vigilant to ensure that they assume the obligation of effective implementation, and to hold them accountable when they violate our Human Rights.
Today, the RadicalGirlsss want to recognise the tireless struggle of the Feminist Movement at a global level for a world free of male violence, with special emphasis on young women and girls, who day by day assume the leadership of this struggle.
SMART Volunteering for Female Migrants, European Economic Social Committee
Brussels, 22 November 2019
On 21 November we held the final conference of the EU-Funded AMIF project “SMART Volunteering for Female Migrants“, hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), that focused on a multi-stakeholder approach to labour integration of migrant women by means of structured volunteering, as a potential path to employment in Europe.
Over 60 participants, including the EU-wide platforms, policy-makers, specialist NGOs and individual migrant women, came together to listen, exchange and discuss the intersections between employment, volunteering and migration policies, with specific focus on highly skilled migrant women, and the role different actors – such as NGOs, business and migrant women themselves – can play in facilitating female migrants’ access to labour market.