On the Occasion of the Day for the Elimination of Violence against women: Inhumane Situation Of Women Refugees
“I wish I did not have to speak about it. I wish you could just look inside me and see what I have gone through.”
This is what a young woman refugee who ended up in Calais to go to the UK said. She recited what she had gone through as she had to pass through the Sahara “Sometimes the men were forced to get off the lorry and lie on their backs in the desert. A bright light was shone into their eyes so they couldn’t see, and then we women were raped. All of us.”
When she arrived to Libya she was imprisoned and also was abused again. “The men would burst into the room at any time, and pick out a woman. They would do whatever they wanted.” Guardian 9 March 2017
But this is not the end of it. As women refugee cross the European border the abuse will not end but will go on in various forms some time in its nastiest way as long as they remain a ‘woman refugee’.
In the refugee camp in Dunkirk north of France “Sexual assault, violence and rape are all far too common. Minors are assaulted and women are raped and forced to pay for smuggling with their bodies.” Guardian 7 May 2017
According to the same source this account has been confirmed by other volunteers, medics, refugees and other officials. Reveal that children and women in the camp are forced to have sex by traffickers in return for blankets or food or the offer of passage to the UK.
Women and children are targeted whether they are in Turkey, Libya and Africa or Europe. Syrian women who had to flee to Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan have uncounted incidents of the harassment to tell as most of them have been the single mothers along with their children including young daughters. Maryam, a Syrian woman living in Lebanon says that: “Harassment of [refugee women] is a very big problem in Lebanon, whether I’m single or married, I’m always harassed. It’s why we’re afraid for our children. I have a daughter who is 16 and I’m afraid to send her even to the closest shop.” International Amnesty.org
There are reports by aid workers that a mounting number of incidents of domestic violence and widespread sexual exploitation are taking place in the refugee camps in Jordan though the rape is massively under- reported.
Recently it was reported that the body of 26 Nigerian women who were trying to reach Europe were found in the Mediterranean Sea by the Italy coast guards. Those women are likely to have been part of human trafficking victims that bring tens of thousands of Women to Europe every year to force them to prostitution. According to IOM (International Organisation for Migrants) the number of sex trafficking victims arriving in Italy this year has been nearly 8 times what it was in 2014.
The violence against women refugees from poor countries is directly the results of the way that the world has been organised. The world divided between powerful imperialists and poor oppressed countries. Those powerful countries with force of military, policies and economy and other means protect and intensify this unjust division that patriarchy and male chauvinism is an integral part of the whole system they are protecting.
In 2015 around 10.5 million women and girl refugees mainly fleeing conflicts were recorded by the UN. The women who either alone or with family are trying to flee the war inflicted by the imperialist’s countries many of them would be subjected to violence during their journey and on arrival in destination country.
The current refugee policies of the imperialist’s countries has created multiple forms of vulnerability and insecurity for refugee women including coercion, forced prostitution, harassment, continuous sex, sexual slavery or various forms of extortions.
The inhumane policies of the US, UK, Australia and other European countries against the refugees and immigrants has resulted the death of tens of thousands of refugees and closure the borders has led to the setup of camps in Calais, Dunkirk and those in Libya, Manus Nauru and other parts of the world under inhumane conditions, women and young girls being the most vulnerable and the target for violence, sexual harassment, sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
The occasion of 25th November the day to fight the violence against women we loudly say that such an inhumane situation that women refugees are going through must end. The situation clearly cries for a World without Border. Our commitment and determination to fight for such a world, a world in which no woman and no human is oppressed and exploited and is subjected to violence and discrimination is highly needed.