PES - Party of European Socialists

09/25/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/25/2020 07:27

25/09/2020 PES Women: Women’s rights must take centre stage in new EU asylum and migration pact

Gender equality in EU asylum and migration policy is not optional, it is essential. That was the message of PES Women Vice-President Marja Bijl to the PES Migration & Integration Network today, where she called once again for a gender-sensitive and humane EU asylum and migration policy on behalf of PES Women.

The network, which is chaired by Carina Ohlsson, Swedish MP and President of the Swedish Social Democratic Women, met to discuss the new European Commission pact on asylum and migration with European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.

PES Women joins the PES Migration & Integration Network in calling on Member States to live up to EU principles by committing to saving lives, showing solidarity with people in need, as well as with other Member States.

Two weeks after the devastating fire in the Moria refugee camp, women and children are the ones who are suffering most from the lack of proper sanitation, food, water, medicine, and insufficient shelter from gender-based violence, weather and disease. The new Kara Tepe camp is already overcrowded, with the same unsanitary and unsafe conditions as before. That the abominable conditions in refugee camps are putting women and girls' safety and well-being at risk is well known. Yet, the Moria disaster and the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the plight of women refugees further. Immediate emergency aid as well as lasting relocation solutions are needed.

As EU legislators begin negotiations on the new pact, solidarity with women and girls coming to Europe is essential. Gender equality is a fundamental value of the EU, and all Member States must contribute to safeguarding the rights of women in all their diversity. Humanitarian law, fundamental rights and common European solidarity must take centre stage in the upcoming discussions to achieve the best outcome possible for people arriving to Europe.

PES Women Vice-President Marja Bijl said:

'In times of crisis, gender-sensitive asylum and migration policies are more important than ever. The EU must ensure the uniform protection of women's right to safe and equal asylum and migration procedures as well as proper integration, and must combat gender-based violence, trafficking and discrimination.

'We must also put a stop to overcrowded camps like Moria once and for all. PES Women therefore welcomes the Commission's decision to create a taskforce to resolve the emergency situation in Lesvos, which will take into account the specific needs of women and children.

'Going forward with the legislative negotiations, PES Women hopes to see efforts to properly gender mainstream all areas of the pact so that women's human rights are respected throughout.'

Commissioner Johansson also pledged again in the meeting to take a particular look at the gender perspective and to strengthen it within the taskforce. PES Women has confidence in her leadership, whose feminist and social democratic perspective will be an asset in the negotiations for a more humane and gender-sensitive EU asylum and migration policy.