Progressive women declare renewed support for women refugees



We must be conscious of the different needs of women and men in our approach to welcoming asylum seekers to Europe. This was the overarching message of the women’s organisation of the Party of European Socialists, in a declaration on women refugees, agreed at a meeting of its executive on 12 February. The declaration focuses on three aspects of women asylum seekers’ experiences. Firstly, the right of asylum; secondly the right to a safe and secure arrival and thirdly the need for the inclusive welcome of women.

While previously women tended to remain in the region after fleeing war zones, 2016 has witnessed a new phenomenon of women taking the often dangerous journeys to Europe. Be they alone or accompanied, women on these dangerous journeys are often victims of multiple forms of violence; sexual harassment, rape, trafficking. In this new context, PES Women reaffirmed its commitment to assisting these women. On 18 and 19 February PES Women will is organising a conference and visit to refugee women in Turkey together with the Global Progressive Forum to learn more about their situation.

Zita Gurmai, PES Women President said after the PES Women Executive meeting:

‘Increasing numbers of women are making the treacherous journey from war and danger zones to what they hope will be safe havens. It is to our shame that after a dangerous journey, those seeking asylum find that their country of destination is also not safe for them.'

'Women asylum seekers are our sisters, and comrades. It is by nothing more than an accident of birth that they find themselves in peril while others are safe. We stand in solidarity with them and will continue to campaign for them to receive services, medical and health assistance including SRHR and safe areas, language courses, vocational training and more, in order to fully realise their rights, and enable economic empowerment.’