Flight and Asylum
As a consequence of wars, violent conflicts, terror, political prosecution, poverty, lack of perspective in life as well as environmental disasters, the number of refugees is constantly on the rise.
The oftentimes degrading life situations in the affected regions bring many people to leave their home country. Most of the refugees flee as so called internally displaced people (IDPs) within the borders of their home country or into neighboring countries. A smaller number of refugees flee overseas to Europe. In 2015 more than one million people fled over the Mediterranean Sea to the European continent. Thousands drowned in the water or are reported as missing.
The situation came to a peak in the so called summer of migration in 2015 which led to high numbers of refugees newly arrived. In Germany, the number of applications for asylum rose from 173.000 in the year 2014 to 441.899 in the year 2015. For comparison: During the Bosnia war in the year of 1992, 440.000 people sought for asylum in Germany.
Most refugees in Germany emigrated from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Eritrea. Furthermore, a noteworthy number of Albanians and Kosovars also seek official status, but the percentage of people from these countries who are granted asylum remains low. Syrian, Eritrean and Iraqi nationals, however, have the best chances to be granted with official admission by the German government.
Many refugees who seek advice and support at FIM come from African countries, especially from Eritrea and Ethiopia but also from Nigeria and Somalia. The East African focus is partly due to the fact that two of our FIM counsellors speak the languages from these countries, Tigrinya and Amharic. Since April 2016 the already existing offers have been expanded to serve refugees from Arabic speaking countries. Our new Arabic speaking colleague counsels clients from Syria, Iraq, Algeria and Sudan. With the help of a Dari/Farsi-speaking translator, we also support women from Afghanistan and Iran. Besides our individual case support, FIM also provides information and education modules to refugees living in refugee homes in Frankfurt. These are conducted in major native languages of the refugees. We deal with topics such as arrival and code of conduct in Germany, social networks and family, women’s rights and gender equality as well as sexual violence. Furthermore, FIM conducts trainings and workshops for professionals, especially for social workers, on topics such as “flight and violence” as well as intercultural communication.
FIM demands more Rights for Refugee Women
Women from African countries and the Middle East mostly remain IDPs due to dangerous escape routes and lack of financial means (two thirds of the asylum applicants in Germany in 2015 were men). Most women do not succeed in fleeing overseas to Europe, even though they are equally affected by causes of migration and flight. In the annual report of UNHCR 2015, it is shown that half of the number of refugees is female. Women are especially vulnerable and most frequently affected by gender-based - violence such as sexual harassment, sexual violence, war-caused rape, prostitution as well as forced marriage. In the course of FIM’s counselling sessions, atrocious experiences of violence come to surface, for instance of women who have been trafficked through North Africa and/or have been abused by the human traffickers.
In order to end this spiral of violence, it is indispensable to provide for safe corridors for women like for example as quota refugees. In Germany, there is also the need for specific protection measures for female refugees. Segregated and safe accommodation is needed for women who are traveling by themselves. The staff membersof the accommodation centers for refugees need to be sensitized for the special needs of women with the help of a violence protection concept. Furthermore, information material in native languages and female interpreters are needed.