A Estratégia da PICUM em Relação às Mulheres Migrantes Indocumentadas

Keywords: Undocumented Women

Because of their irregular status, undocumented women are highly susceptible to violations of their most fundamental human rights. Gender discrimination increases migrant women’s likelihood to suffer from violations of their human rights and when combined with an irregular status, contributes to a worrying culture of impunity within the European Union.

In Europe, the increased linkage between migration control mechanisms and access to basic services means that undocumented migrant women experience numerous barriers to empowerment. In many countries they are unable to access health care, obtain social assistance and may face arrest or deportation if they make contact with the police to report violence or abuse.

This policy-driven exclusion and removal of social protection serves as a significant barrier to undocumented migrant women’s meaningful participation in society. Such policies risk compounding gender inequalities existing in our society and further marginalising migrant communities.

By investigating their situation regarding access to health care and education, fair working conditions, exposure to and ability to report violence and exploitation, PICUM hopes to support local initiatives active in the protection and empowerment of undocumented women and raise awareness at policy level regarding the discrimination, abuse and ill-treatment these women are facing in Europe.

Key concerns for PICUM on undocumented women

  • THE RIGHT TO HEALTH is a fundamental human right and key to the realisation of other rights.

As a result of their urgent health needs throughout their lifecycle, undocumented migrant women are disproportionately affected by policies which limit care on the basis of immigration status. Across Europe, undocumented women are denied access to essential healthcare services including family planning, pre and post-natal care and intravenous treatment for pregnant women with HIV/AIDS.

PICUM will highlight undocumented migrant women’s right to health and identify policies and practices across the EU which improve their access to sexual and reproductive health care.

  • PROTECTION FROM VIOLENCE is essential to the achievement of a decent standard of living.

The migration policies existing in Europe are often insensitive to the needs of women and may actually increase their chances of becoming undocumented. Many women migrating to Europe find their immigration status is dependent on the goodwill of an employer or spouse, while claims for asylum on grounds of gender-based violence are likely to be refused. Across the EU, undocumented women face multiple legal and structural barriers which prevent their access to essential services such as health, education, housing and workplace protection. Despite this increased exposure to ill-treatment, they risk deportation if they contact the police, are denied access to women’s shelters and are unable to obtain financial assistance granted to victims of violence. With nowhere to turn to for help, undocumented women remain disproportionately vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse, ‘honour’ killings and trafficking for forced labour or sex.

PICUM will seek to empower undocumented women by increasing awareness of the humanitarian concerns surrounding their unprotected status and encouraging accountability for violations and abuses against them.

  • THE RIGHT TO FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS is vital to ensuring the protection of female workers who are prone to multiple forms of discrimination.

Despite the increased feminisation of labour migration, the needs of female workers are often under addressed by policy makers. As a result, many undocumented women find themselves limited to the low-wage sector, employed in care work, domestic work, agricultural and cleaning positions. Women employed in these isolated work environments face additional barriers to access their workplace rights; employers often have the power to withhold their passports and it is more difficult for them to find solidarity with other workers. Nonetheless, undocumented women are taking action to assert their workplace rights and an increasing number of actors are promoting recognition of this group in the workforce.

PICUM will mainstream the specific concerns of undocumented women in its rights-based approach to ackling labour-based exploitation through the empowerment of workers.

PICUM's Women's Strategy Leaflet is available in pdf in nine languages:

EnglishFrenchSpanishGermanItalianPortuguese, DutchRussian and Arabic.


For more information please contact:

Eve Geddie, Program Officer,

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