The Endless Ordeal of Women Migrants
Milan, March 26th, 2010. Women fleeing from countries where humanitarian crises are underway often fall victim to physical assault, violence and rape. Today, thanks to a report by Médecins Sans Frontiéres, numerous case have come to light of women being raped during their “journeys of hope”, on their way to Morocco, and sometimes on Moroccan soil. “They are horrifying figures,” say MSF, “because 59% of the women interviewed say they have suffered sexual assault”. In Libya (the country Italy has signed anti-immigration agreements with) the situation is even worse and should be the subject of indignation for all those who believe in civil values. There is much talk (in Italy and throughout the world) of the protection of women and children, but then – through irresponsible xenophobic policies – the authorities contribute to the ordeals that women, children and vulnerable citizens are going through. In Italy too, female “illegal” immigrants regularly fall victim to blackmail and violent treatment. Women who are “legally” here are often subjected to the same treatment and forced to provide “services” outside their normal work duties (under blackmail from employers or landlords) due to the difficulty of holding on to their residence permits, essential for remaining in Italy. This fear of becoming “clandestine” leaves them vulnerable to persecution and blackmail. Not to mention the women interned in the Centres of Identification and Expulsion. The Bossi-Fini law, the “security package”, the anti-immigrant measures are – there is no point in denying it – racial laws, and responsible for an endless ordeal for thousands of women and marginalized and destitute human beings. If only the institutions (both in Italy and in other EU countries, seeing xenophobia is now rife all over Europe) were to listen to the appeals and proposals of civil society and stop being blinded by racial hatred and a fear of refugees and minorities! We would then live in a proud and just Europe – not a continent where human rights are a “privilege” for the few, while the more vulnerable human beings are treated as slaves or pushed back as though they were filthy animals.
— “MSF denounces the sexual violence against migrants on their way to Europe”
— For further information, see MSF document: Sexual Violence and Migration. The hidden reality of Sub-Saharan women trapped in Morocco en route to Europe