PREPARATION AND CONSULTATION MEETING
“Social Inclusion of Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants from the Gender Perspective”
9th November 2017- Haus am Dom
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Women`s Development Summit, under the theme of “Social Integration of Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants from the Gender Perspective”, gathered academics, activists and representatives of civil society at the ,,Haus am Dom” on 9th November 2017 in Frankfurt am Main.
This consultation meeting of Women ́s Development Summit (WDS) was co-organized by the Forum for Intercultural Dialogue (FID), the German Association for Dialogue Institutions (BDDI), the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), and was supported by the humanitarian aid organization Time To Help e.V.
The Women’s Development Summit is the continuation of the Istanbul Summit (www.istanbulsummit.org), which has been held annually since 2014. The Summit, as now called the “Women ́s Development Summit”, is an international, multi-sectoral forum that brings together stakeholders from different regions of the international community and sets a platform to discuss the Global Agenda in a gender-based approach.
The participants of the WDS consultation event, “Social Inclusion of Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants from the Gender Perspective” declare herewith:
WOMEN ́S DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT
Preparation and Consultation Meeting
- The current refugee issue is an undeniable global challenge that can only be tackled together with all international and national decision-makers, civil society and the private sector.
- The UN Global Sustainable Development Agenda calls for “reaching the furthest behind first.” We welcome this approach and accordingly urge for a greater awareness of the particular importance of gender mainstreaming in the inclusion of refugees. There is no question that the women among the wards are a particular vulnerable and excluded group.
- We note with regret that there is a great lack of consideration and recognition of gender specific reasons of migration. We must put an end to it. We urge all decision makers, multipliers, and actors to focus on gender-specific approaches and to ensure the inclusion of this vulnerable group.
- The communities of asylum seekers and refugees must be actively involved in gender-sensitive education. Prevention workshops, on the dissemination of dissemination of legal framework conditions, and protective measures are necessary both for staff working in refugee care centers as well as for those seeking protection.
- We remind and underline that violence and discrimination against women have historically increased and been observed in all countries and are not a specific problem of the refugees. However, the specific situation of those seeking protection requires specific measures:
- In the context of gender, flight and asylum, anti-sexist and anti-racist approaches and measures for sustainable prevention are needed. Diversity should not be treated separately from gender, racism and discrimination, so that sustainable participation in society can be promoted.
- Securing escape routes plays a crucial role: Fleeing women experience violence, exploitation and sexual harassment. In particular, we call on international bodies and national policymakers to ensure that women and their children have safe and legal routes.
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTPS) and post-migration stress – specifically resulting from experiences of war and flight, but also due to the conditions in the host countries – must be taken into account. Both the caregivers and the administration need to be trained in gender-sensitivity as well as transcultural competence. Mother tongue therapists in refugee camps and care facilities are essential. The possibility of overcoming the trauma must be secured so that active participation in society is really possible.
- We welcome and underline the United Nations ́ recommendations on the prevention of violence in refugee camps, but at the same time note that they are under-exploited and urge the relevant authorities to actively implement them.
- We call for a standardized intervention procedures for the protection of female refugees and their children who are victims of violence. National and international standards must be established to protect female refugees and children, ensuring that victims are safe from further attacks and trauma. In particular, we call for the suspension of the Dublin Regulation regarding women affected by violence along with their children.
- Long waiting times during the asylum procedure without access to education and work, especially language courses, lead to exclusion and lack of perspectives. National policymakers must actively counteract this situation and promote inclusion as early as possible.
- Active participation in society can only be achieved through self- determination. This in turn is only possible if economic independence exists. In this regard, we draw attention to the importance of labour market integration:
- There are many barriers to labour market integration: inadequate language skills, inadequate and/or non-certified education, lack of work experience and ignorance of the social system. Our experience has shown that the personal trust relationship in counseling and support is very effective. Assistance/support gives security. The learning of the different perspectives regarding the social interaction should not be imposed, but promoted by self-motivation.
- It is important in the policies and initiatives aiming labour market integration that there is no coercion. One’s own motivation is a very important factor for successful and, above all, sustainable labour market integration. The measures and initiatives should strengthen problem solving skills, self-efficacy and teamwork.
- The lack of prospects and especially the loss of hope for decently paid work lead to a lack of motivation which causes to isolation- Appropriately paid work should be enshrined as a right in order to ensure inclusion in society. The current labour market situation promotes segregation rather than integration.
- Civil society initiatives, such as the Austrian 10000 Chances Initiative, provide a role model for successful support and self-help. Promoting such civil society initiatives by state institutions is necessary for engaging more people and make them participate in such success stories. We emphasize the importance of the bridging function of civil society between the refugees and the state.
- In this spirit, we would like to draw attention to the initiatives of refugees for refugees, such as the Initiative for Human Rights and Freedom in Frankfurt. We welcome these self-help organizations and acknowledge that these organized forms of initiatives will facilitate inclusion in the host societies. The experiential knowledge of those affected represents an important expertise and should accordingly be incorporated into the aid and integration work.
- In particular, we call on the media and civil society to pay close attention to the social inclusion of refugees, IDPs and migrants. The discriminatory media coverage leads to exclusion and a distorted image, especially with regard to violence against women, which also poses a massive problem within the EU. Coping with the inclusion challenge can only be possible if we mobilize society and take action.