European Parliament Report on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU (2016)

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The European Parliament has adopted a Report on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU. The European Parliament notes that increasing numbers of women are seeking protection and fleeing war and gender-based violence, including FGM. The report highlights that, according to UNHCR, an estimated 20 000 women and girls from countries of origin where FGM is practiced seek asylum in EU Member States every year and risk of FGM is a common reason presented by women seeking asylum. It is recognised that women and girls seeking asylum have specific protection needs within the asylum procedure and a gender sensitive approach is required.

The European Parliament recommends opening safe legal routes to seek asylum, ensuring gender sensitivity throughout the asylum procedures and ratifying the Istanbul Convention. The reports includes a wide range of recommendations relating to the refugee status determination process, the needs of women in asylum procedures, the conditions of reception and detention, and social inclusion and integration. FGM is recognised throughout the Report as a form of gender-based violence that needs to be addressed in the context of the asylum procedures. The European Commission is urged to develop relevant interpretative Guidelines and Member States are urged to take measures in order to ensure that FGM, as well as other forms of GBV, can be recognised as a form of persecution and thus accord the relevant protection to women and girls.