- Refugee women: reception, integration and voluntary return regimes in Europe
- UK report
- Schlenzka, N; Campani, G; Sommo, L; Wadia, K
- Berlin Institute of Comparative Social Research, Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations, University of Warwick, Department of Education, University of Florence
- May 2004
This project describes the reception, integration and voluntary return regimes involving refugee women in Europe [EU-15]. It analyses the specific needs of refugee women and evaluates how these needs are met by different institutions and practices. Issues of refugee women are dealt with in a comparative perspective with the aim of developing a common framework of analysis and set of recommendations for the EU. The reports and book are aimed at national and EU policy/decision makers and funding bodies in the statutory and voluntary sectors.
Qualitative and quantitative data, for each country study, was obtained from academic literature; periodical sources; web sites and in-depth interviews [20 experts and 20 women asylum seekers/refugees]. Research for the UK report was completed in London and the West Midlands.
In 2004, only one EU-15 member state [Ireland] had incorporated the concept of gender-based persecution into its asylum legislation. Moreover, the majority had not adopted gender guidelines pertaining to asylum determination. Exceptions were Sweden and the UK [guidelines are included in Home Office Asylum Policy Instructions]. There was inertia or unwillingness in adopting and implementing practices responding to women asylum seekers and refugees' needs. The latter groups were found to suffer multiple disadvantages. In all EU-15 states, access to safe, decent accommodation is difficult. The UK's asylum ‘dispersal' system often ignores women's fears of isolation and racist aggression. Language training, health and care services generally make little provision for women asylum seekers, particularly those in vulnerable categories [e.g. pregnant women, trauma-sufferers, single mothers]. Refugee women face barriers to education, employment and training. The provision of support structures for women is uneven throughout the EU; some states have more developed reception/integration infrastructures. Northern EU countries [e.g Sweden, UK] have a better record than those in southern Europe [e.g. Greece, Portugal]. Refugee support organisations are generally better resourced and developed in northern Europe. Refugee community networks are strongest in countries with long [non-European] immigration histories. Refugee women's networks in the UK are strong compared with those in most EU-15 countries. Finally, few EU-15 states generate gender-disaggregated asylum data.
• national, gender disaggregated asylum data should be collected;
• EU states should recognise gender-related persecution as grounds for asylum;
• national gender guidelines should be adopted and implemented;
• women should be given a degree of choice in accommodation matters, in order to alleviate problems of safety;
• opening up of paid employment to both principal asylum claimants and working age dependants should be opened up;
• accessibility of language, ‘survival skills' and ‘orientation' courses should be established for women, to help improve their self-esteem and ability to communicate with social interlocutors and thus lower barriers to integration;
• access to free healthcare to female [and male] asylum seekers should be available until a decision on status is reached and /or forced or voluntary repatriation takes place.
Dr Khursheed Wadia
- Resource Type
- Research report
- Commissioned By
- European Commission
- Funded By
- European Refugee Fund