In 2018, about 115,000 people crossed the Mediterranean.
Women and children account for around 35% of refugees.
We need to highlight the exceptionally vulnerable situation of women asylum seekers and refugees in the European Union. They have fled persecution in their home countries only to undertake a perilous journey in order to reach a place of safety. On arrival at reception centres, these already vulnerable women — who may be victims of sexual violence, trafficking or other violent crimes — face additional barriers, making them even more vulnerable. Our Group is calling for measures to ensure that asylum procedures are gender-sensitive and that women's needs are met throughout the asylum process. These measures include: gender-specific training for staff including comprehensive training on sexual violence, trafficking and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); specific sleeping and sanitation facilities; the right to request female interviewers and interpreters; access to gender-sensitive health services including pre-natal and post-natal care; providing childcare during screening and asylum interviews; and the right for women to lodge a claim for asylum independent of their spouse to empower them. We are also calling for an end of detention for children and pregnant women seeking asylum.
Gender-based violence, such as rape, sexual violence, FGM or forced marriage should be a valid reason for seeking asylum in the EU. As far as the integration of refugees is concerned, our Group is calling for facilitation of access to the labour market; access to language classes and education; access to childcare and family reunification and recognition of qualifications obtained abroad.