The dangers facing women refugees

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2018 National Women's Conference
15 January 2018

Conference notes with dismay the reported deaths of at least 26 Nigerian women and girls, who are suspected to have been murdered while attempting to cross the Mediterranean.

The bodies of the women were brought to the southern Italian port of Salerno by the Spanish ship Cantabria on Sunday 5 November, and prosecutors immediately opened an investigation over suspicions that the women and girls, some as young as 14, may have been abused and killed.

It is suspected that the women may have been the victims of sex-traffickers, and two men have been arrested, both for the women’s deaths and the trafficking of other people aboard the boats.

Conference notes that each year thousands of people die trying to make the crossing, and many of the women travelling alone or with their children also suffer sexual and physical abuse. Meanwhile the authorities and governments fail to respond to the refugee crisis, and the global phenomenon which leads to people undertaking these perilous journeys.

Conference calls on the national women’s committee to work with the NEC, the international committee and all other relevant bodies to:

• Lobby the UK government to respond with compassion to the plight of refugees;

• Continue to work with other unions, both in the UK and internationally, to protect the rights of refugees and to demand that the government abide by their human rights obligations to refugees and migrants.