Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination: Protecting Refugee Women from Gender-Based Violence
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Many refugee and asylum-seeker women and girls have been exposed to gender-based violence taking the form of coercion, forced prostitution, harassment, survival sex, sexual slavery or various forms of extortions. However, “their protection from violence has not been considered a priority in the management of the refugee crisis”, today said PACE Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. According to parliamentarians, “the gender dimension of the refugee crisis has been largely overlooked”.
In unanimously adopting a draft resolution based on the report prepared by Gisela Wurm (Austria, SOC), the Committee said that providing protection from gender-based violence to all women “should be a priority, irrespective of their status”. The responsibility to help and protect asylum-seeker and refugee women is not limited to cases of violence perpetrated in destination countries. They should “receive adequate assistance to overcome the trauma they have experienced in their countries of origin or at times in transit”.
The committee called for gender sensitive asylum procedures by ensuring the presence of female asylum officers and interpreters. Among other measures to be implemented they cited resettlement and relocation programmes - which represent the safest way for asylum-seekers and refugees to come to Europe -, family reunification and investments in social and economic integration programmes targeting specifically women refugees.
The draft resolution is due to be debated in Strasbourg during the Assembly’s forthcoming plenary session (24-28 April 2017).
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