PES commits to raise awareness on missing migrant children and on refugee crisis’ gender perspective at Korcula School 2016



The Party of European Socialists and PES Women joined again the Korcula School, organised by the CEE Network for Gender Issues. The 5th edition of the event focuses on the Refugee and Migrant crisis, but through a gender differentiated perspective. The school took place in the Croatian city of Korcula during the weekend.

Despite the refugee crisis has been widely reported by the media since it started, only few times its consequences and the personal tragedies have been shown from women or child’s perspective. Therefore, within the framework of the Korcula School, NGOs, MEPs, MPs, the Socialist International Women, different women’s organisations and PES member parties from the Balkans have been discussing common strategies to raise awareness, public information and education campaigns to tackle the crisis from all perspectives.

During the Opening session, PES Women President Zita Gurmai reminded participants that "women and children make up 75% of refugees fleeing Syria, but make up only under 20% of refugees arriving to Europe". These figures showed that women were staying behind in the region, often alone with their children, remaining in precarious conditions, be it in camps or transit countries trying to survive poor living and health conditions. She stated that “the tough times we live in call for solidarity and the sisterhood must play its role more than ever to give these women a voice and a face and ensure that not only we welcome them, but we accompany and assist them adequately.

PES Deputy Secretary General Marije Laffeber debriefed on the unaccompanied children "It’s heart breaking to learn that there were 90,000 unaccompanied minors coming to Europe in 2015 and more than 10,000 went missing. No one knows where they are. Many of them probably fell into the hands of criminal networks and organized trafficking syndicates. It’s our duty as political family to raise this issue and put it high on the agenda for these kids cannot speak for themselves” Laffeber said. Following that, she launched the initiative of an awareness campaign to raise consciousness about this situation to protect children’s rights and their lives.  

Among other high level participants, the school was attended by CEE Network Chair Dasa Silovic, SIW President Ouafa Hajji, SIW Honorary President Pia Locatelli, MEP Tanja Fajon, Swedish MP Carina Ohlsson,  Kvinna till Kvinna Secretary General Lena Ag, Nordic Council Secretary General Hrannar Bjorn Arnarsson, Rainbow Rose Secretary General Jose Angel Santoro Estevez, CNI President Lovorka Marinovic, and Professor Radojka Kraljevic.