Last week the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) adopted my report which explores the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers.
I was interviewed by the European Parliament immediately after the FEMM committee voted to adopt the report.
The report reveals that women flee persecution in their home countries, embark on perilous trips in the hope they will eventually reach a place of safety. However, en route the majority become vulnerable to sexual violence and other criminal acts such as trafficking. And by the time they reach reception centres they face additional barriers which can cause further harm. As a result they are traumatised, exhausted and disorientated.
The report calls for the adoption of a number of measures which would make women seeking asylum, often travelling with young children and other dependants, feel less vulnerable, safer and more comfortable on arrival in reception centres. Some of the things it calls for include:
• gender-specific training for staff including comprehensive training on sexual violence, trafficking and Female Genital Mutilation.
• gender-segregated sleeping and sanitation facilities
• the right to request female interviewers and interpreters
• access to gender-sensitive health services including prenatal and postnatal care, and trauma counselling