7 February 2014

The European Parliament has adopted this week a non-legislative resolution on “Undocumented women migrants in the European Union”, calling on EU Member States to  detach immigration policies from access to healthcare and education as well as from the prosecution of crimes against undocumented migrants, so that they can enjoy their fundamental rights regardless of their residential or legal status and report abusers to the police without fearing arrest or deportation.

The report also calls on Member States to ensure that undocumented migrant women have mechanisms available to introduce claims against abusive employers. The resolution urges Member States to ensure that all migrant women who have been victims of abuse or gender-based violence, including migrant women exploited in the prostitution industry, are provided with protection and support and considered to have particular reasons to be granted asylum or residence permits on humanitarian grounds.

The Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) highlights the case of Miriam, who became undocumented in Sweden and thereby vulnerable to abuse with impunity, because she lived in fear of reporting it to the police and being deported. “He hit me and wanted to kill me, I could not go to the police because I have no papers. He said ‘if you leave me, I will call the police, you are a case for the police’. It was a very bad situation for me”, Miriam states.

The report also covers the situation of undocumented migrant women in abusive situations who are denied access to women’s shelters and the situation of women in detention centres for migrants. The report calls on Member States to fully investigate any claims of abuse made by detainees. MEPs also call on Member States to find more humane alternatives to prison-like detention centres.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 07 February 2014
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