Opening an extraordinary session with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Parliament’s President Martin Schulz highlighted Parliament’s continuous efforts to combat all forms of violence against women, be it in their home countries, when fleeing or upon arrival in the EU. Mr Grandi called on the EU to reaffirm its values and to reject “blanket” return policies without stipulating safeguard clauses.
Mr Schulz also paid tribute to human rights activist Berta Càceres and asked the Honduran government to do its utmost to find and sentence those who killed her.
Mr Grandi stressed that 20% of all families fleeing war in Syria are headed by women and that women travelling alone, pregnant or with children have outnumbered men since the start of 2016. “Girls and Women are disproportionally exposed to violence and sexual abuse by criminal networks and smugglers”, he said, calling for safe asylum paths to avoid human trafficking.