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Asylum Rights and the Right to Stay for All Victims of Gender-Based Violence

They have fled forced marriages, pressure to inflict female genital mutilation on their daughters, threats of “honor” killing, human trafficking, and other forms of violence in countries where discriminatory and misogynist laws reign supreme, where gender apartheid is the law of the land, where no viable protection is given to victims of gender-based violence. Yet many who have fled this systematic gender-based violence have not had their right to asylum recognized in Europe, and they are forced to live without papers and under threat of deportation.

They have come to Europe believing promises of love, and marrying European citizens, but they soon discover the beatings, confinement at home, sometimes marital rape and other physical or psychological domestic violence. Forced to flee the violence before obtaining a long-stay visa, many of them find themselves without papers, without rights, and under threat of deportation, sometimes to countries where no one wants them – where being a divorced or separated woman brings “shame” on their families.

To obtain asylum, as for the first case, or the right to stay as for the second, the restrictions on asylum, the increasingly tough regulations against immigration, and the racist and xenophobic demagoguery against immigrants, require these women to multiply the “proof” of violence or threats, as if administrative documents might mention threats of forced marriage or honor killings, as if foreign women married to European citizens had been subjected to violence in front of witnesses…

At once victims of both sexist violence and oppression, as well as of the xenophobic anti-immigrant legislation of European states, these women are subjected to a double violence unacceptable for anyone with a minimum of humanity.

We demand of the various heads of state, governments, and other legislators of European countries of the European Union, to grant a residence permit to all victims of gender-based violence, whether such violence has been sustained in the home country or after arriving in Europe.

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