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17. June 2019

My body is no battlefield: Fighting violence against women

Press Release: Cologne, 17 June 2019. On the occasion of the International Day Against Sexualized Wartime Violence on 19 June and the World Refugee Day on 20 June, medica mondiale demands from the German Federal Government its EU refugee policy to be aligned more closely with human rights standards.

Women and girls are subjected to torture and rape

According to the United Nations, each year hundreds of thousands of women and girls experience sexualised violence during armed conflicts. In March 2019, the Women’s Refugee Commission published a report which demonstrated, among other issues, how women, children and men who were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard as they tried to flee to Europe have been subjected to torture and rape in the detention centres there.

EU refugee policy must be aligned with human rights standards

“There is no longer any doubt about this,” declares Jeannette Böhme, Advocacy and Human Rights Officer at the women’s rights organisation medica mondiale. Nonetheless, the German government continues to support a European refugee policy which includes funding for the Libyan Coast Guard and therefore contributes to violence against women and children. On the International Day against Sexualised Wartime Violence and World Refugee Day Ms Mosbahl demands: “Germany has to align its refugee policy, and EU policy, with human rights standards. This would not allow people rescued from dangers at sea to be returned to Libya. Nor would it include so-called migration partnerships with misogynist regimes.”

Monika Hauser to the Federal Government's Committee on Human Rights Policy

During the hearing for the 13th Human Rights Report on June 6, 2019, medica mondiale criticised the German government for failing to live up to its pledge to combat gender-specific violence at home and abroad. One example is arms exports to states that are directly or indirectly participating in conflicts and violating women’s rights, such as the United Arab Emirates. Ms Mosbahi points out that in its asylum policy and in the manner it deals with refugees, the German government is not respecting its own aims to protect women from violence. Categorising countries such as Kosovo as a ‘safe country of origin’ means that women are being forcibly sent back to countries where they are at risk of violence. Future concepts on German and European asylum policies need to be evaluated according to whether they exacerbate violence against women or reduce it.

Author: Mechthild Buchholz, press spokeswoman at medica mondiale

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Campaign "My body is no battlefield"