The situation of refugee women in Europe

Papers / 31.1.17

Since 2015, the situation of refugees in Europe has become one of the main issues in Europe’s political agenda and at a global scale.

Protocols to handle influx, basic rights and integration of refugees have been thoroughly scrutinized and put into question in numerous occasions. Yet, NGOs on the ground keep raising concerns on the conditions newly arrived refugees suffer.

As the number of refugees arriving to Europe has risen, the number of those who are vulnerable has risen exponentially. We observe how refugee women are often especially unsafe. This is especially worrying because prior to 2015 refugee crises, migration was a mainly male phenomenon (in 2015 women and children accounted for merely 27% of the new arrivals), but in 2016 the percentage of women migrants rose above 50%. National and European public policies and humanitarian aid by NGOs and civil society has unfortunately proven insufficient to deal with this situation and its complexity.  Integration protocols have not been able to either prevent or efficiently deal with the dangers, exploitation and multiple forms of gender violence which women and girls face on their way to Europe or upon arrival.

Author of this report, Helena Castellà, believes it is important to analyse human and refugee rights within EU’s legal framework to stand against discrimination faced by refugee women coming Europe. In this report, she lists, human rights violations suffered by refugee women in their country of origin, in transit and at their destination to try to understand in depth this specific element of the current refugee crisis.

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The report is jointly developed by Centre Maurits Coppieters and Fundació Josep Irla (thanks to whom we have been able to include a devoted chapter to Spanish and Catalan legislation).

This paper and Centre Maurits Coppieters is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the paper nor the opinions of the authors.