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Alianza por la Solidaridad draws attention in Brussels to violence against migrant women

Friday, 9 June 2017

1 in 3 European women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15, but migrant women are the “great forgotten”.


Alianza por la Solidaridad was present at the EDD, where we introduced our experience on the impact of Gender Based Violence on migrant women in a lab organized by the ISGlobal Institute that centered on women vulnerability along migratory routes.

In the session, we highlighted how migrant women carry backpacks of violence: generated in origin countries, maintained during transit and perpetuated in the countries of destination, by the members of their own communities or by public or private actors of the “host” societies.

These "backpacks" of gender-based violence strongly impact their physical, moral and social health and well-being, and keep them invisible, discriminating them and preventing their access to the most basic human rights such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, the right to a life free of violence or the right to housing or employment.

At Alianza, we believe that EU and Member State policies must cross gender and migration approaches, something still pending in the New European Consensus on Development, and recognize migrant women not as victims but as agents of their own destiny: women continue to make decisions and despite the difficulties and limitations they seek, they find strategies of adaptation and survival.

On the other hand, the continuity of violence against migrant women in the Maghreb, Middle East and Europe shows how states along migratory routes prioritize migration control rather than the protection of human rights.

The European Development Consensus refers to the 2030 Agenda motto of "leave no one behind," but we can clearly see how the restrictive nature of current European migration policies on the European territory and abroad, make migrant women even more invisible and forces them to take more dangerous decisions and routes, putting their lives at risk, instead of establishing measures to protect them, and guaranteeing the right to migrate.

This continuity of violence also shows how public and private actors on the migration route are not interested in women well-being and how they want to continue to keep them exploited and vulnerable. Capitalism and patriarchy take advantage of women migrants at all levels.

During the panel discussion, we underscored the necessity to align EU Member States’ policies with the Istanbul Convention, which guarantees the fundamental rights of all women to be protected against gender violence at the individual, institutional and structural level, regardless of their administrative situation.

We are aware that, despite good words and intentions, women's rights remain insufficiently guaranteed in the European Union: the European Women's Lobby (EWL) notes that 1 in 3 European women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15, but migrant women are the “great forgotten”.The invisibility of their situations implies that, in fact, they live in a no-rights zone and that they don’t exist for the societies in which they live. This requires efforts in the collection of data, which today are clearly insufficient. Linked to Agenda 2030, this means a true commitment by the European Union to the implementation of the necessary measures to guarantee target 17.18 of the Sustainable Development Goals, focused on obtaining timely and reliable data disaggregated, among others, by gender and migratory status.

We believe that it is time for us to truly go beyond good intentions and that the European Union must show, through its political, economic and social actions, its commitment to leave no woman behind.

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