International Women’s Day: Less hypocrisy, more solidarity needed for refugee women and children
On the occasion of International Women's Day, GUE/NGL MEPs are calling for an end to hypocrisy and for all member states to show solidarity with refugee women and girls through open borders, enabling safe passage and family reunification.
Our MEPs raised these issues during a debate in the European Parliament this morning over a report on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU.
GUE/NGL is largely in favour of the report, albeit with amendments, but highlighted contradictions in the whole European Union's approach to refugee women and chidlren.
Swedish MEP, Malin Björk, described the most urgent needs of refugee women and girls: "Safe passage is incredibly important for women and young girls, because they are particularly vulnerable. Closing borders has very severe consequences for these women, so that is an unacceptable solution."
"Various countries in Europe have really undermined the principle of family reunification. This is something granted to families, women and children in particular, who are stuck in unsafe countries. It is very important that families can reunite."
Greek MEP, Kostadinka Kuneva, highlighted the hyprocrisy that currently exists in Europe over the treatment of refugees: "We are here in the Parliament discussing a report which is asking to support women refugees in a humane way. Yet, at the same time, the European Council said that Austria and other countries quite rightly closed down their borders and some governments are now openly racist, saying that they won't accept muslims on their territory."
"What we ask for is safe and legal pathways for refugees and migrants. Meanwhile, the Council is creating some kind of inhumane trade-off with Turkey so that for each woman reguee who is granted asylum, we will have a woman migrant who will be obliged to return to Turkey.
"The UNHCR quite rightly says that such an agreement between the EU and Turkey could be illegal because it infringes both European and international law. I call on this Parliament not to become an accomplice in this," concluded Kuneva.
German MEP, Stefan Eck, condemned the hypocritical use of violence against women and children: "If we don't leave the Balkan route open and follow the recommendations of the extreme right who want the borders to be closed and protected by armed forces, then we are leading a hypocritical debate."
"We must not use weapons against women and children. This would be completely unacceptable and in contradiction to the whole European idea. Europe must instead demonstrate solidarity with women, children and all refugees. Our borders must be reopened or kept open.
"We must also respond to some comments of extreme right by saying we do not agree with them.
"This is something we owe to Europe and to humanity. This is something we must do to make progress in Europe," Eck reinforced.
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20