"The Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) and Women against Violence Europe (WAVE) commend the European Parliament for passing the resolution on undocumented migrant women in the European Union.
The plenary session of the European Parliament today voted on a resolution on ‘Undocumented Women Migrants in the European Union’. The motion for this resolution came from an own-initiative report of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). Prepared by rapporteur Norica Nicolai (ALDE, Romania), the resolution calls on national and European authorities to ensure that a woman’s immigration status does not prevent her from accessing decent housing, healthcare, and education, and to safeguard access to justice for those experiencing violence and exploitation.
While it is regretful that some key recommendations were not passed such as a call for member states to ratify the UN Convention on Migrant Workers and the need to increase legal and social assistance for undocumented women, the resolution marks an important step regarding the need to protect undocumented women’s rights in Europe.
Across the EU, undocumented women face significant barriers to access to support, services and justice. Because immigration control is often given priority to their needs as victims, they risk severe reprisals when contacting the police. As a consequence, female victims of violence are detained and deported, while their perpetrators remain unpunished. This protection gap means that perpetrators of violence against women can actually threaten their victims with the police.
When she became undocumented in Sweden, Miriam (33) found herself in a chain of abuse that was impossible to break. She was turned away from the local women’s shelter and lived in fear of the police. Her irregular status meant that she could be abused with impunity.
“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”,
The resolution recommends that member states now delink the prosecution of violence from immigration control so that all victims can safely report crimes. To ensure undocumented women are not turned away in their time of need, violence against women shelters are encouraged to waive requirements that women provide documentation. Finally, access to healthcare and education should be upheld, there should be no reporting of children of undocumented migrants.
The resolution marks an important recognition that all women should be able to access justice regardless of their residence status."
The Public Ministry of Mato Grosso do Sul (Brazil) launched on the March 14th the campaign "Break the Silence", with the aim of raising awareness of violence against women.
The "Break the Silence" campaign was originally developed by the agency JWT for APAV in 2005 and was adapted for publication in that Brazilian state in the wake of the Protocol signed between APAV and Public Ministry of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul.
This protocol of Cooperation was signed in February 2012 and aims to establish cooperation between the two institutions and to promote awareness and campaigns regarding domestic violence against women.
A seminary dedicated to “Access to justice for crime victims in the EU”, organized by the European Research Area (ERA), will be held in Trier, Germany, on 10th and 11th April. The event will have ten speakers from different european countries, being Portugal represented by João Lázaro, APAV’s President, and by lawyer Henrique Martins Gomes, from Carlos Pinto de Abreu Associates.
The meeting’s main goal is to analyse the new EU legal provisions considering the implementation and judicial practice in the Member States regarding the procedural safeguards and access to justice available to crime victims in the EU, with emphasis to in cross-border cases.
Therefore, as key topics we highlight the effective exercise of rights in criminal proceedings, access to justice in trans-national cases, support and protection measures and the European Protection Order.
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Victim Support Europe will promote the 2014 Annual Conference and General Meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on 14-17 May 2014. The conference will be an opportunity for member states representatives, academics and victim support practitioners to come together and exchange best practices regarding the implementation of the EU directive on victims’ rights.
The key topics for discussion and debate will include quality and standards in victim support, next steps to successful delivery of the EU directive on victims’ rights, capacity-building for victim support organisations as well as new challenges and victim support beyond 2015.
Confirmed speakers include Marek Biernacki (Justice Minister of Poland), Charalampos Athanasiou (Justice Minister of Greece), Lotte Knudsen (Director for Justice, DG Justice, European Commission), Oldřich Martinů (Deputy Director of EUROPOL) and Hans G. Nilsson (Head of Division of Fundamental Rights & Criminal Justice of the Council of the European Union).
For further information:
APAV and GNR (the National Republican Guard) signed on the 20th of December, in the General Command of GNR, Headquarters of Carmo, in Lisbon, a Cooperation Agreement with the aim of regulate and formalize direct and reciprocal cooperation between the two entities, in an effort to improve the conditions to better support, assist, inform and protect victims of crime. The GNR was represented by its General Commander, Lieutenant General Newton Parreira, and João Lázaro represented APAV as President of the Board.
The enhancement of the cooperation between these two institutions aims at, among other things, establish best practices as models of action to be applied in what concerns information to victims of crime and referral to victim support after the first contact of victims with the police; set up a referral system of the victims of crime that contact GNR to APAV’s victim support schemes complying with the applicable legal provisions; participation of the organisations in each other’s training programs, both as trainers and as trainees; mutual cooperation in actions and projects in the field of victim support developed by each of the institutions, including studies and seminars and projects co-financed by both national and European fund lines; regular technical support, according to the needs felt and the logistic and technical capacities; sharing of relevant information in terms of victim support and cooperation in situations of psychosocial support to victims of crime, terrorist attacks, serious accidents, catastrophes, national disaster and other critical incidents.