Current conditions do not allow us to celebrate 8th March International Women’s Day. The loss of achievements, rights and freedoms of women, repeated violations against them, daily violence and sexism do not let us celebrate.
KISA’s priority for 8th March, a day for all women, is focused on migrant and refugee women who bear an even heavier burden and are deprived of the dignity, respect, support and protection a modern democratic state should be providing them.
Contrary to any concept or notion of democracy, the government has established a policy of hostile environment and repression that target more than ever before migrant and refugee communities. In this framework, migrant and refugee women experience on a daily basis conditions of systemic and social discrimination, exploitation, human trafficking and gender-based violence. The murders of the five migrant women and their two children brought to the surface the criminal indifference and negligence of the authorities.
As soon as the mass social outcry subsided, the government abandoned the development and implementation of “additional protection measures for foreigners”, announced by the government itself. As a result, migrant women continue to experience gender-based violence on a daily basis, a situation aided by institutional racism and sexism by the police and other competent authorities. KISA pointed out this inconsistency in a position paper with Suggestions for legislative and policy changes for the improvement of the work and life conditions of migrant women in Cyprus. Not only did the government not adopt these proposals, but it also refused any consultation and dialogue with KISA and other civil society organisations.
Under such conditions, migrant and refugee women are not only humiliated and marginalised but they are also excluded from all policies and mechanisms purportedly aiming at the protection and promotion of women’s rights, as well as from the agenda and actions of women’s organisations and groups supporting women’s rights.
The pandemic makes migrant and refugee women even more vulnerable, along with other social groups, as the state purposely opts to ignore and exclude them from all measures in support of workers and the unemployed, restricting them even more and depriving them and their children of decent living conditions.
With its participation in yesterday’s mass march, KISA underlines the imperative necessity for the effective inclusion and integration of migrant and refugee women in the Cypriot society and calls on-
- Migrant and refugee women to rallying together and to struggle for claiming their rights
- Women’s organisations and the women’s movement in general to recognise and include in their ranks and their struggles migrant and refugee women and their claims.
We also call on the government to proceed immediately to legislative and other required changes for the abolition of systemic discrimination and exclusion of migrant and refugee women.