For immediate publication
Pledge to stop violence against undocumented migrant women & girls
Tomorrow, November 25th, marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The days leading up to and including the 10th of December (Human Rights Day), make up the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign - a time to rise up against violence on women and girls around the world. In support of the 16 Days, as well as the WAVE Step up! Campaign on the rights of women survivors of violence and their children to access support and protection, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) and the Cyprus Refugee Council want to bring attention to a particularly vulnerable group, specifically undocumented migrant women and girls. We invite you to sign the pledge promising to end gender-based violence against them.
Undocumented migrant women who are victims of violence experience huge difficulties in reporting or accessing services. Fear of deportation or destitution often forces undocumented women or women with an uncertain immigration status to stay in abusive relationships. Going to the authorities for help doesn’t necessarily provide protection or even an investigation. In fact, a negative outcome can be far more likely: a freeze or reversal of their migration process, deportation, not to mention an adverse impact on their financial situation. Other practical obstacles which limit undocumented women’s access to protection, as well as legal & judicial recourse are:
-Lack of awareness of their rights
-Difficulties in navigating an unfamiliar system
-Lack of legal counsel or presentation
Why should undocumented migrant women and girls be protected?
Simply put, women’s rights are human rights, and as such, the administrative status of a woman should not be a barrier to her having access to services when she’s been a victim of violence. Her rights are enshrined across international & European legislation, including the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the EU’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) which is currently being ratified across Member States, as well as the EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (2012/29/ EU) (Victims’ Directive).
What can you do?
Simply visit the page set up by WAVE in collaboration with PICUM to sign the pledge. Show you endorse the core principles of solidarity. Together we can raise awareness of this issue and stand with undocumented migrant women who have been victims of violence to enable access to support and protection. Please feel free to share the message across social media, using the hashtags #StepUp for #MigrantWomen & for the UN campaign, use #16days and #orangetheworld.
Press release – 24/11/2017