WIDE+ Migration Working Group co-chaired the preparatory work on promoting female migrant, refugee, etc. rights for the Women’s Civil Society Forum of the UNECE, the UN Europe and Central Asian states, review of the Beijing+25, and Sustainable Development Goals+5. The Civil Society Forum took place on 28 October 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The main conclusions:
We all agreed that migrant women face racism in their treatment by institutions, such as immigration offices or social workers, but also when they work or want to access work. Strict measures and penalties should be taken on racial profiling; the deconstructing and addressing institutional and structural racism is our first recommendation.
Migrant women face exclusions not only from the legal system due to their status, but also from political rights. Ensuring women’s access to political rights is not only about formal regulations, but also about ensuring participation of migrant women and enabling transparent structures for self-representation of migrant women in decision making processes.
The routes of refugee and migrant women who are on the move are very dangerous, in which women face huge risks of exploitation and abuse or lack of decent living conditions. The governments should do much more to secure adequate safety and security measures for those who are at camps, ‘hotspot’ centres and other ad hoc transit points in Europe. Government must ensure access to their rights when they suffer violence regardless of their status. Because of severe laws on asylum (for example Dublin Regulations), a lot of women are forced to choose to live undocumented, which increases their vulnerability to sexual exploitation and other forms of exploitation (being exposed to criminal networks). Governments should fully implement the Istanbul conventionon addressing Violence against Women and as well as CEDAW convention; and in some cases, governments should sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention.
Residential citizenship should be given to all children of migrants after a short time of arriving in the UNECE countries or when they are born in these countries.
Migrant women that report abuse and exploitation in their formal or informal workplace should be protected from any deportation or other sanctions resulting from their witness report.